Peterson Keeps Pushing Team Concept

Where Vikings fans saw a fumble from their star running back, rookie Adrian Peterson saw a missed opportunity to score a long touchdown. The impressive on-field and off-field attributes of Peterson continue to shine through, even if his opportunities dwindled on Sunday.

After a franchise-record 224 yards rushing from a high-profile rookie, Vikings coach Brad Childress said that star running back Adrian Peterson cared most about being a good teammate. So far, it looks like that's true.

Peterson hasn't grumbled about splitting carries with veteran Chester Taylor despite Peterson's goal of 1,800 yards rushing in his rookie season – a goal that would be more attainable if he were anointed the starter and workhorse, a move many outside the organization keep promoting. Even after his well-publicized day against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 14, Peterson gave his offensive line a higher grade than he gave himself.

"I'd give the offensive line an A-plus because they were the ones that created everything that happened," Peterson said days after his record-setting Soldier Field performance, while he graded himself at about a B or B-plus.

After personally outrushing each of the teams the Vikings had faced before Dallas ended that streak on Sunday, Peterson's production came back to rookie-like numbers, if only partly because of his more limited opportunities. He carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards in Dallas, part of that was due to the fact the Vikings ran only 49 offensive plays with limited success compared to the Cowboys' 71 plays.

But the interesting part of Peterson's analysis of his performance in the Cowboys game was that he didn't complain about a lack of carries. Instead, he focused on what he missed with one of the carries that he fumbled. At 11:51 in the fourth quarter, Peterson took a handoff and headed off right tackle. Defender Jason Hatcher wrapped his left arm around Peterson and punched the ball loose with his right arm from behind. The Cowboys recovered on the Vikings 22-yard line and scored the final points of the 24-14 game with a field goal four plays later.

"I could have made the right read and probably took it to the house for an 80-yard run," Peterson said of that fumble. "I was hesitant and that back side was wide open, like that Chicago run – same play. The guy made a great strip coming from behind me and poked the ball out.

"I looked that way and it was wide open, but because of my momentum I couldn't get that backside cut. It was there. I made that same cut last week. I messed up, myself, on that one and I've got to move on."

That's how Peterson has been all season – extremely accountable to the team without a hint of resentment for being held back.

  • Asked if he figured he would get the ball 25 times after setting a franchise rushing record, he said: "It never developed that way. Dallas held the ball for a little bit period of time. So when we had the ball, we had an opportunity to make some plays but we missed them."

  • Asked about splitting out as wide receiver to get more opportunities, he said: "Just give me an opportunity to touch the ball in different ways and open the field also."

  • Asked if one throw was behind him that he didn't catch, he said: "No. The ball touched my hand and therefore I've got to make a play. I just didn't come down with it."

  • Asked if he was disappointed with his numbers in his return to his native Texas, he said: "Just going back with a win, that would have been the perfect victory. It was a normal game, but I just look at the opportunities that I left out there. I look at the things that I could have did to help my team. I left some opportunities out there. There wasn't no added pressure, I just didn't execute."

    Time and time again, Peterson has had an opportunity to vent about a perceived lack of carries for the NFL's rushing leader, but he continually points to the few faults he has shown and keeps the team concept at the top of the list.

    "We've definitely got a lot to improve on," he said. "You can't point the finger in no direction. If you look at the film, there is a lot we all could have did."

    NOTES

  • The Vikings released cornerback Chad Johnson from their practice squad, likely a move to make room for guard Brian Daniels. Daniels was released from the 53-man roster on Monday to make room for safety Eric Frampton.

  • The Detroit Lions signed safety Patrick Body to their practice squad. Body spent the offseason with the Vikings.

  • Former Vikings safety Greg Blue had a tryout with the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday.

  • Former Vikings receiver Bethel Johnson had a tryout with the Denver Broncos.

  • Former Vikings wide receiver Chris Jones had a workout with the Buffalo Bills.

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed running back Zack Crockett on waivers, which could open up more opportunities for former Vikings running back Michael Bennett, who was traded from Kansas City to Tampa Bay last week.




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