A New Day Dawning

Adrian Peterson returned to practice Wednesday and is ready to embark on the first stage of his professional career Friday night as the Vikings usher in a new era of offense that promises to eventually have Peterson as its centerpiece.

With the Vikings and Rams' meeting in the preseason opener just one day away, the Adrian Peterson era with the Vikings is about to begin. Peterson, known as a fiery competitor who hates coming off the field even for spring games at Oklahoma, returned to practice Wednesday and said he's ready to go for Friday's game.

While coach Brad Childress said he's not as gung-ho optimistic as Peterson is about his chances of getting on the field, he did say that Peterson is going to get his chance to make an impression and get on the field.

The Vikings' running game has been a hodge-podge for years. The last time the team had a consistent breakaway threat was Robert Smith's final season in 2000. Smith, who had suffered numerous injuries early in his career, was a key component to the Vikings offense in their Super Bowl runs in 1998 and 2000, but some credit much of his success those seasons with defenses being so terrified of the deep pass to Randy Moss and Cris Carter that if Smith got through the line untouched, he had a lot of open space before defensive backs could cover the ground to get to him.

Peterson likely isn't going to have that same luxury. Defenses know that the Vikings intend to run early and often to take the pressure off young QB Tarvaris Jackson and no runner saw more "eight in the box" defenses last year than Chester Taylor. While Michael Bennett and Taylor are good NFL running backs, Bennett never truly showed the "world class speed" Dennis Green always spoke of on a regular basis while wearing pads and Taylor is a prototypical "between-the-tackles" runner who seems best suited for milking the clock when the Vikings have a lead.

What Peterson brings to the table is something Vikings fans haven't seen consistently since Chuck Foreman was the go-to back 30 years ago – a running back that can take any play drawn up for him to the house. While his appearance Friday is likely not to be very lengthy, the fans will be waiting for that one play that gets him in the open field. When it happens, you'll know. The Vikings fans won't let you forget.

* VU would like to send its condolences to the family of Vikings security guard Frank Foster, who died Wednesday in his motor home on the campus of Minnesota State-Mankato. Foster, 66, was a retired St. Paul police officer who had spent the last 14 years working security detail with the Vikings. Wednesday's morning practice was cut short after the team learned that Foster, who hadn't showed up for breakfast, had been found in his trailer. The team gathered for a prayer for Foster and his family after practice.
* Mewelde Moore and his wife Tymeka had their first child, Jalyn Chantelle, late Monday. The baby, born three weeks premature, weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces, but both baby and mother are said to be doing fine.
* Linebacker Jason Glenn attended Wednesday's afternoon practice on crutches with a knee injury that, while not disclosed by the team as to its severity, appears to be pretty serious. More details are expected to made known today.
* The Vikings plan to pay special attention to special teams this year, which were ranked in the bottom 25 percent of the league last year. That plan will include playing more starters on special teams. Considering what that did for Chad Greenway last year, you have to wonder why the team can't get more specialists to do that kind of work.
* CB Marcus McCauley missed Wednesday's practices with a fever. He was given I.V. injections and is expected to be available for tomorrow's game with the Rams.
* Jon Kitna may have promised 10 wins, but don't expect to see one of them tonight. The Lions have announced that former Viking sluggo J.T. O'Sullivan will play most of the game at quarterback.

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