Turning Point: No Peterson, Lesser Chance?

Adrian Peterson rushed the ball only 12 times but had 112 yards, but the Vikings' biggest playmaker was stuck on the sideline once again when the Vikings were trying to execute their final drive. See what Peterson and head coach Brad Childress had to say about the matter.

The job of a player is to do whatever he can to deliver a big play for his team in the clutch. That is why quarterbacks who are successful get paid so much. It's why teams have a workhorse running back. It's why teams draft wide receivers with size and speed in the first round. The Vikings have just one of those three component parts on offense right now – rookie RB Adrian Peterson. He has shown in his brief stint in the NFL that he has all the tools to be a game-breaker. Yet, for the second straight week, with the game on the line, Peterson was on the sideline as the Vikings failed in a late stab at a come-from-behind win – making a déjà vu version of the Turning Point of the Game.

Last week in Kansas City, the Vikings trailed 13-10 to the Chiefs with 1:39 to play and no timeouts. Peterson, who had scored the Vikings' only touchdown and rushed for 100 yards was on the sidelines. Why? According to Brad Childress, it was because he wasn't up to speed on blitz pickup. What wasn't asked as a follow-up question should have been, why would keep your only explosive offensive playmaker in to block in the final minute of the game when you need 50 yards to get in field goal range?

Sunday was a sad replay of the same scenario. In the first half of the game, Peterson was dominant, topping 100 yards before halftime with 108 yards on 10 carries. So how do the coaches utilize him in the second half? They let him touch the ball four times.

Of those four, Peterson provided the biggest play of the half – returning a kickoff 51 yards to put the Vikings in immediate scoring position. But, when it came to trying to keep his running rhythm going, he carried twice for four yards and once for six yards.

"I am going to go in when they call on me. I am going to go out there and make the best of every opportunity. It's good to have Chester (Taylor) back and have that one-two punch to keep both of us fresh. I am just going to do my job," Peterson said.

Thanks to a fumble by Ryan Grant as the Packers were trying to run down the clock, the Vikings had another chance in another game to make a big play that could have sent the game to overtime. Once again, it could have been a chance for Childress to put his best playmaker on the field and find a way to get him the ball. Instead, Peterson was stuck on the sidelines and the Vikings failed once again in their late attempt to rally.

Ordinarily, a turning point of a game comes from a key play on offense or defense. This time, it was the continuation of the Vikings not realizing what a talent they have in Peterson and believing that Chester Taylor this week or Mewelde Moore last week was a better option. That unwillingness to change may have cost the Vikings a chance to win both games and in the process created a self-inflicted Turning Point of the Game.

"We're trying to give them plays that they look at well, and obviously Adrian was contributing with the kickoff returns," Childress said. "That's what I love about this football team, it's an unselfish football team. I've talked to you many times about Adrian and how he just wants to be a guy that contributes to win any way he can. He doesn't bat an eyelash to go back there and return kicks, although he'd rather that we're handing it to him."

On Sunday, he didn't get that chance in the final drive once again.

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