Superlatives Flying As Fast As Peterson Was

As rookie Adrian Peterson gets ready to face his hometown team next Sunday, the superlatives for him were flying in the Vikings locker room after his record-setting day.

The Vikings will be underdogs heading into Sunday's game at Dallas, but that won't matter to Adrian Peterson.

The native of Palestine, Texas, will be looking to continue his standout rookie season against the team he grew up watching. "I'm very excited about that," Peterson said. "Going back home, facing the Cowboys. I have probably 40 family members there or even more. I'm looking forward to that game."

The Cowboys certainly won't be looking forward to facing Peterson. Five games into his NFL career, the running back is rewriting the Vikings' record book.

His most recent "breakout" game came in a 34-31 victory Sunday at Chicago. Peterson rushed for a team-record 224 yards on 20 carries and scored on runs of 67, 73 and 35 yards. That also is the most yards the Bears have given up in a single game in their history.

And that's wasn't all.

After the Bears tied up the score at 31 late in the fourth quarter, Peterson took the ensuing kickoff back 53 yards to set up Ryan Longwell's winning field goal.

The word heard most often in the victorious locker room when talk turned to Peterson was "special." The Vikings coaching staff obviously is aware of this and spent the bye week figuring out ways to get him more involved.

In a loss to Green Bay before the bye on Sept. 30, Peterson was on the field for 25 snaps and veteran Chester Taylor was in for 41. This caused a bit of a stir because Peterson had only two second-half rushing attempts after going for more than 100 yards in the opening two quarters.

Against the Bears, Peterson was in for 34 snaps (plus kickoff returns) and Taylor was in for 36. Peterson had 20 carries and Taylor had 22.

"He's a very special player," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "He's got special talent. He has that great combination of physicalness but yet (he also has the) speed to take it the distance."

Safety Darren Sharper saw Ahman Green put together some standout seasons with the Green Bay Packers but said there was a difference.

"I never saw (Green) do nothing like this early in his career," Sharper said. "Ahman did that in like his third and fourth year. There are no adjectives to use for this guy. I'll let you guys do that. You can find what (words to use) to describe it because he's unbelievable."

Peterson now has four 100-yard rushing games this season, breaking Chuck Foreman's rookie record and tying Taylor for the most 100-yard games by a first-year player with the Vikings. Peterson also is the first Vikings rookie to have two 50-yard runs in a season.

Peterson was asked if he was surprised the Bears defense was so easy to run against. Chicago was ranked 12th in the NFL against the run entering the game.

"Maybe a little bit, but I knew it was possible," he said. "With the guys we have up front, how we prepared this week, knowing that we were going to come in and establish the running game. I knew anything was possible. We had our goals set for 225 rushing yards with all the backs. So we came in and executed that goal."

Peterson alone nearly executed that goal last Sunday. Dallas will try to avoid being the next team to become a victim of Peterson's lofty expectations.

NOTES

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson returned Sunday after missing two games because of a strained groin. He completed nine of 23 passes for 136 yards with a one touchdown, no interceptions and a 73.8 rating.

  • DE Erasmus James returned after missing the first four games as he recovered from a knee injury. James did not start but worked as the No. 2 right end behind Ray Edwards.

  • RB Mewelde Moore was inactive for the third game this season. When Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor are both in, Moore is the odd man out.

  • MLB E.J. Henderson left Sunday's game in the third quarter for a brief time because of a shoulder stinger. He was able to return and finish the game.

  • WR Troy Williamson's 60-yard scoring catch of a Tarvaris Jackson pass was his first touchdown since Oct. 2, 2005 when he caught one at Atlanta.


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