Peterson Possibilities Continue to Grow

Adrian Peterson has already been named Rookie of the Month for September, but his quick start to the season has people talking about bigger and better things for him as his rookie season continues.

There were six teams that passed on Adrian Peterson in last April's draft in large part because of questions about his ability to stay healthy.

So far, the Vikings are very pleased they didn't follow the pattern when the seventh-overall pick came up. The running back not only has remained healthy — a collarbone injury had been the latest concern — but appears to be on track for Rookie of the Year honors.

Peterson took a first step toward that distinction when he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for his performance in September. Peterson rushed for a team-leading 383 yards and had 549 all-purpose yards in the four games. He also has a rushing touchdown and another on a 60-yard reception in the Vikings' victory over Atlanta in the opener.

In four games, he has tied the Vikings' rookie record set by Chuck Foreman in 1973 with three 100-yard rushing games.

Peterson's statistics would be even more impressive if he had been allowed to carry a larger amount of the workload in the Vikings' 23-16 loss to Green Bay in Week 4. Peterson had 19 rushing attempt against the Falcons and followed that with 20 and 25 carries in losses to Detroit and Kansas City.

Veteran running back Chester Taylor, who is coming off a 1,000-yard season and remains the starter, missed the latter two games because of a hip injury. He returned against the Packers, impacting Peterson's carries.

The rookie had a career-high 112 yards on 12 attempts in the game, but 108 of those yards came on 10 first half carries. He was handed the ball only twice in the second half.

This came after Peterson was held out of the Vikings' final drive at Kansas City because of concerns about his pass-blocking ability.

Coach Brad Childress made it clear that Peterson and Taylor are going to share carries when both are healthy. But Peterson is the only real play-maker on an otherwise suspect offense and keeping him off the field seems like a curious move at best.

The Vikings have talked about using Peterson and Taylor together in certain packages but that happened only once against the Packers.

Childress, though, was vague on this, saying there "is an opportunity."

Added Childress: "I would think that what you would end up seeing is a mix of that in a 60-play game. It just depends on what you think the defense will do to adjust to that. (If) they are just going to play you as regular personnel, then you probably have a chance to be able to look and see if you have a mismatch."

NOTES

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson is expected to return next Sunday at Chicago after missing the past two games because of a groin strain. With the Vikings having had a bye last Sunday, Jackson will have had three weeks of rest.

  • RB Mewelde Moore's name surfaced in trade rumors last week when it was reported the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had called to inquire about the Vikings' No. 3 running back. The talks ended when the Vikings asked for a first-day pick. Moore has been inactive for two of four games this season and is clearly the odd man out when Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor are both healthy.

  • S Dwight Smith benefited from having a week off to rest his hamstring. Smith had missed practice time leading up to the past two games but played in both.

  • RB Adrian Peterson returned the majority of kickoffs against Green Bay, but it remains unclear who is going to settle into this job full time. WRs Aundrae Allison and Troy Williamson also have received opportunities in this role.

  • WR Robert Ferguson has not caught a pass in the past two games after catching three against Detroit in his debut with the Vikings in Week 2. Ferguson had only one pass directed his way against the Packers in Week 4.


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