TCF Bank Stadium has been kind to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson this season. This is the first season he had gotten to play in the stadium after missing every game in the 2014 season but the first game of the season, which was a road game.
In the team’s first two home games of the season, Peterson carried the ball 49 times for 260 yards and two touchdowns. After struggling some on the road against the Denver Broncos, Peterson hoped a return to the home field in front of the home crowd would spark big game. That wasn’t the case.
Peterson was bottled up by the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense for a majority of the night and did not reach positive rushing yards until the second quarter. Getting stopped for short yardage every time he touches the ball can get frustrating for him, but he also knows that every yard helps.
“We knew that coming into the game we were playing with a physical group,” Peterson said. “It was going to be a good challenge for us, and we just wanted to be out there and try to establish the run game. Those 1-, 2- and 3-yard gains help us keep some drives alive. Teddy played a good game today; he was able to come out with the victory, so I’ll take it.”
All day long, Peterson was getting hit in the backfield and was only able to run for a big gain if he broke multiple tackles. Peterson tried to continue to encourage his guys throughout the day to keep fighting, but he also knows that some days the defense will beat you.
“Sometimes you’re just going to get beat,” he said. “I’ll tell you this, 97 (Allen Bailey) grabbed me one time and swung me down, and I was able to feel the force that he had. That guy is extremely strong, and I’m sure there’s not too many guys that can keep him from getting to the quarterback or keep him from the backfield on every play. So I was just telling those guys to keep fighting. If you get knocked down, you get back up and hit them in the face and knock them down. They did that today. We’ll take the W for what it is.”
Not only does it get frustrating for Peterson when he has nowhere to run, but it gets frustrating for the offensive line as well. They know it is their job to open holes for the running back and when there aren’t holes to run through it usually means they are getting beat.
They do not like getting beat and offensive Mike Harris said that it now up to them to learn from this experience and improve on it.
“First, I’ve got to tip my hat to (the Chiefs),” Harris said. “You could tell they were prepared well for us. They gave us a lot of stunts up front; a lot of movement and their D-linemen did a great job of holding the point. We’ve got to learn from that. This week we’ve got to go push some sleds, just do a little extra work because if we can get the run game going it’s that much better for the team.”
At the age of 30, there was some question about how Peterson would be able to hold up over the course of the season. In the first couple games he seemed to be lacking that extra gear from early in his career when he saw open field. He said the bye week helped to rejuvenate him.
He said that a big part of that was because he was able to rest up over the bye week, but it also seems as though he is starting to knock off all the rust that built up with a season off.
“I felt good, man; I felt really good,” he said. “I guess having that week off was excellent for everyone. Just taking care of the body. I felt good. This is the best I’ve felt and I’m excited about it. You look at the yards and you wouldn’t think he’s satisfied and he’s happy with how things played out today, but I am, because ultimately we had a job to do, pound the rock and be able to make plays in the pass game, score points and come out with a W. That’s ultimately what happened.”