Despite hesitancy, how is Peterson pacing?

What would Adrian Peterson need to do over the next 14 games to reach 2,500 yards, or even 2,000, and how does his two-game start compare to last year? He hasn't been bad, but he said he realized one thing he was doing wrong Sunday in his first 100-yard effort of the year.

Adrian Peterson reached the 100-yard rushing mark against the Chicago Bears twice on Sunday, but it wasn't anything like when he doubled 100 yards against them in 2007 with his 224-yard performance.

Instead, Peterson surpassed 100 yards rushing, then suffered a 13-yard loss five minutes into the fourth quarter and worked his way back up to exactly 100 yards. It left him with 193 yards on 44 carries (4.4-yard average) through two games.

It also leaves him with a much taller task to reach his goal of 2,500 yards – and it would have been an unprecedented mark anyway.

In order for Peterson to reach 2,500 yards, he would have had to have averaged 156.25 yards per game. That was before he started out shy of that pace. Now that he has 193 yards through two games, he would have to average almost 165 yards a game over the final 14 to reach 2,500.

Peterson and his blocking were a little more consistent in Sunday's game against the Bears than they were in the season opener, when he started the game with a 78-yard touchdown run, then was held to 15 yards over his final 17 carries.

Against the Bears, he still had several negative runs, but the positive yardage was more consistent than it was against the Lions the previous week. Peterson said he wasn't frustrated after the Bears game but did come away with something he can improve.

"One thing I did notice was I was a little hesitant today," Peterson said after the Bears game. "I wasn't really sticking it up in there. I kind of felt that way. I can't do that. I need to come and press these guys. I need to force those guys to tackle me. A couple plays I didn't do that. Who knows what could've happened? I (have) to do a lot of soul searching and come back better than I was."

With a soggy Soldier Field taking on more rain by the minute on Sunday, Peterson changed his cleats during the first half and head coach Leslie Frazier thought he got better as the game went on.

"Adrian really began to come on. Early on, the surface I think messed with him a little bit up," Frazier said. "… He was a little concerned about the surface, but once he settled in, he began to get some of those runs we have all grown accustomed to. But part of the issues I think he dealt with yesterday were trying to hit that home run on every single run, and it's not going to always be the case. But overall in these first two games, he's done well. He's done everything we've asked him to do. We've just got to make sure we get him some holes."

Entering Sunday's game, in 10 career contests against the Bears, Peterson had averaged 108.5 yards per game, including a 106-yard average at Soldier Field. However, in the three games prior to Sunday at Chicago, he averaged only 66 yards rushing per game and hadn't carried it more than 18 times a game.

The Vikings gave it to him 26 times on Sunday, despite him averaging only 3.8 yards per carry. He said the emergence of a passing game helped loosen things up a bit more over what was available to him in Detroit.

"That was very critical. That's what was missing last weekend. We made some adjustments, some play calling, and we (were) able to do more of a balanced offense (against the Bears)," he said. "You (were) able to see how the running game was more efficient and the passing game was more on point."

Said Bears cornerback Charles Tillman: "I think he definitely challenged our defense. He's the guy who makes you play team defense. I can respect that. He's a great player. He definitely tested our roles today."

So is Peterson's goal still in reach? To become the first player to reach 2,000 yards rushing twice, he would have to average just over 129 yards per game in the final 14 outings. Considering he averaged 159.8 yards over his final 10 games last year, it's hard to count him out.

He's already 49 yards ahead of his pace through two games last year, and had only one 100-yard performance in his first six games in 2012.

His next challenge is Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, a team he had 180 yards against in 2009, his only time playing them. But the present-day version of the Browns have allowed only 119 totals yards rushing through two games, tied for third in the NFL.

The Peterson watch continues.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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