For more than a month, there has been guessing, speculation and questioning of how the Vikings running game is going to be different with the addition of Adrian Peterson. With the regular season opener just days away, the Vikings still aren't giving any clues as to how the carries will be split.
Head coach Brad Childress said that he has a good idea how the two are going to be used, but that the situation could change at any time.
"I know in my mind how I want to use them," Childress said. "I know how they are in the game plan – what plays we think this guy is going to be in for and what plays we think that guy is going to be in for. If a guy taps himself on the head (to come to the sideline) and a 25-yard run or he gets hit and comes out, then the other guy has to be able to run that if play if that's what you've got called. I've kind of got a mind's-eye picture of how many times and on what plays they are going to touch the football and I think that's kind of how we're game-planned."
The players share the vague commitment as well. Peterson said he is as in the dark as to what his role is expected to be as the media surrounded him Wednesday in the locker room.
"I don't know how many carries I'll have," Peterson said. "They haven't told me. I'm just going to do everything I can to be ready when it's my turn."
Peterson added that he's not concerned about being in a platoon for the first time in football life.
"You need to have two running backs because of the pounding you take," Peterson said. "I'm getting ready to be prepared when my number gets called."
Chester Taylor, who had 31 carries in the regular season opener a year ago, shared many of those same sentiments.
"We have worked together really well," said Taylor of his relationship with Peterson. "From the day he got here, we all knew he is going to help make our offense better. What we we're all focused on is improving the team."
So, for the time being, the plan of having running backs 1 and 1A remains the plan of attack.
* The Vikings received an extension to sell out their home opener to avoid a blackout on local television. As of Thursday morning, they had 1,700 tickets remaining to be sold before 2 p.m. Central Time Friday to avoid the blackout.
* Childress blamed the Vikings loss of Tyler Thigpen to the Chiefs as the result of the shared practice/scrimmage with K.C. during training camp. The Vikings have had a relationship during training camp with the Chiefs, because of the proximity of their training camp sites. That closeness gave the Chiefs coaches and scouts a chance to see more of Thigpen than any other team would have under ordinary circumstances. Clearly, they were impressed with what they saw.
* The first injury report of the season was "released" Wednesday and, unlike previous years, the Wednesday report doesn't list ratings of "probable," "questionable," "doubtful" or "out." The early report simply lists what players didn't take part in the full Wednesday practice. Among those who didn't participate in Vikings practice include Mike Doss and E.J. Henderson, and for the Falcons Chris Crocker. Those who had "limited participation" included Tank Williams, Darrion Scott, Bobby Wade, Vinny Ciurciu, Robert Ferguson, and for the Falcons Roderick Coleman.
* Despite having a strong preseason, citing his lack of complete knowledge of the Raiders offense, Lane Kiffin named Josh McCown his opening day starter instead of Daunte Culpepper.
* Childress poked fun at himself at his Wednesday press conference, saying his discussion of a phone conversation between himself and Patriots coach Bill Belichick was an example of him being "too colorful." He told the media that is the reason he often clams up, saying "You guys wonder why I stand up here and go, ‘yep, no or maybe so.'" That may bring an end to the new, more colorful Chilly.
* Tarvaris Jackson enlisted the advice of Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning to give him some encouraging words about his first NFL start. Jackson said he had asked defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who was an assistant with the Colts, to facilitate a meeting with Manning, which took place a few days ago in a 15-minute phone conversation. Jackson said that he's expecting the Falcons to blitz a lot Sunday and Manning told him not to try to take too much on his own shoulders and just manage the game as well as he can.
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