Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher, carried the ball only five times for 10 yards in the first half and eight times for 18 yards all game.
Peterson’s frustration showed in his postgame comments, saying he felt the Vikings were “outcoached” and “outplayed.”
And eight carries wasn’t enough.
“It is what it is, I’m not going to dwell on it because we have a long season ahead of us,” Peterson said. “So we’ll come back, get our minds right.”
His offensive linemen view Peterson’s desire for the ball as a good thing, but said the offense created its own problem for coordinator Norv Turner.
“Yeah, Adrian wants the ball. I understand that. He’s a heck of a player. He’s probably the best player in this league,” Vikings guard Brandon Fusco said. “He wants the ball in his hands to change a game and we want that, too. But Norv’s a great coordinator and he’s been around this game for a long time. It’s hard to be a one-dimensional offense and move the ball down the field, knowing the defense knows it’s a pass every play. It’s just tough to make plays.”
The Vikings started the game with two Peterson runs, then took a sack on third down. On Peterson’s first carry of the second drive, he was dropped for a 1-yard loss. He got two more carries on the next drive, with one of those going for another first-down loss.
“When we’ve got 28, teams are going to play us differently than others. The game plan is going to be around 28. That’s the No. 1 thing to stop us,” Fusco said. “We’re a run-first offense so we’ve got to get him going and that helps open up the pass. That’s the way Vikings football has been ever since I’ve been here.”
But after the Vikings fell behind 14-0 late in the second quarter, then 21-0 quickly after that, Peterson got two carries at the start of the second half, then one more the rest of the game as the score continued to tilt increasing to the Seahawks’ advantage.
But has the Vikings offense gotten too one-dimension with its reliance on Peterson that it struggles to function when he isn’t used much or he is shut down by a defense making him the focal point?
“I’m not worried that we have Adrian in our backfield. That’s never a concern for me,” center Joe Berger said.
“Adrian is a playmaker and he wants to have the ball in his hands. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”
The Vikings know their offense starts with Peterson. He touched the ball four times in the first eight plays – three runs for six yards and a 3-yard reception, but two sacks in those first two drives thwarted what little progress the Vikings were making.
In the first 16 plays covering the first three drives, he was used seven times. But after that, the Vikings were down 14-0 and then 21-0 after another drive that ended in an interception when Peterson wasn’t used.
“I think we got a little one-dimension just because we were down so quickly in the game,” Fusco said. “That wasn’t a good team effort offensively, defensively, special teams. I think in all phases we didn’t play our best. Penalties hurt us. That’s a big thing, being a more disciplined team. All those things combined put us behind quickly and it’s hard for Norv for to make calls to get our offense going when it’s one-dimensional against a very good Seattle defense.”
Peterson’s offensive linemen would like to run the ball, too, especially with their pass-protection issues, but they weren’t doing that effectively, either. Peterson averaged just 2.0 yards on his five first-half carries, and he had two catches for a combined 5 yards.
“He’s a very passionate man about this game, he loves the game of football and he wants the ball in his hands all the time,” Fusco said. “We want him to have the ball, too, but you know what? Sometimes it’s not the way games go. We’ve just got to do what the coaches tell us the game plan is and we just roll with the punches.”