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.
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."