Busy Week Follows Rushing Record

Adrian Peterson could elude tacklers last Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, but the calls and interviews were stacking up for him this week. See what Peterson had to say about the week past and how he expects the Packers to approach him. Plus, the Vikings defense refuses to ignore the run despite the Packers' limited success there.

Record-setting running back Adrian Peterson had a busy week after rushing for the NFL single-game record of 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

He remained on the field after the game for interviews, went to the locker room and did a phone interview with a national reporter, showered up, donned a sharp suit and did his press conference with the local media. And that was just the start of the attention.

"Too many phone calls, too many text messages coming through," Peterson said with a laugh. "I don't think that I have checked them all, but it's been a wild week so far."

He received a congratulatory voice mail from former Detroit Lions superstar running back Barry Sanders, but no communication from Corey Dillon or Jamal Lewis, the more recent running backs whose single-game numbers Peterson eclipsed.

Even with the NFL record in tow, Peterson still talks about the things he needs to improve upon.

"I'm still learning all of the rules when it comes to seeing different blitzes and different defenses and stuff like that. But still learning to be patient and letting things develop, I am doing a better job, but it's all about just being consistent week by week," he said.

It's unlikely he will be able to consistently rush for 200 yards a game, and he knows his next opponent will work to take away the spot where he's had the most success – bouncing runs to the outside.

"They like to try to keep everything inside," Peterson said of the Packers, whom the Vikings play Sunday. "They definitely are probably going to stack the ball, and out wide they are going to have man coverage. Those guys are going to be up close to the line of scrimmage, so that's when it comes into play about being detailed about the little things. Putting guys on guys and pressing the hole and letting things develop."

With early success and a rookie record in site, it's no surprise that Peterson got his most extensive action of the season last week. He rushed a season-high 30 times. His previous high was 25 carries in Kansas City, where he rushed for 102 yards. When he set the franchise single-game mark for the first time this season, he rushed 25 times for 224 yards against Chicago.

Getting it 30 times left a delayed mark on workhorse.

"At the end of the game I felt fresh, but when I woke up the next morning I was a little beat up," he said with a laugh. "I felt pretty good. You can just say those guys up front; they really created some holes. Some of those big runs I really didn't take a pounding."

For that, he plans to reward his offensive line with a present of some sort. While he wasn't divulging the contents of something he was "putting together" for them, he figured they'd want a steak to go along with it.

Talented, thoughtful and smart.

"I've definitely got to enjoy it, breaking an NFL rushing record for a single game," he said.


Peterson won't be the only superstar on the field Sunday. There's something called Brett Favre, who the Vikings will have to contend with.

Unlike the Vikings, the Packers' offense attack has been lopsided favoring the pass, but that doesn't mean Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is going to ignore the Vikings' first mission in every game – to stop the run.

"I don't know if you can go into it totally disregarding the run. (The Packers) ran the ball 27 times last week against Kansas City," Frazier said. "Although they didn't have tremendous success, they did have some success and they did go into it thinking they could run the ball. I don't think you can totally disregard the run game. We have to still stop the run and make them be one-dimensional and then we have got to do a good job when they become one dimensional."

So far, the Vikings have generally been able to accomplish that mission this season. They have the league's second-best rushing defense behind Tennessee. The Vikings are yielding an average of 70.4 yards per game on the ground.

But, even against the Packers, who have thrown 308 passes compared to 175 rushes, job one is stopping the run.

"It's always our first priority. In 16 weeks we will still be saying the same thing," Frazier said. "Every Friday, every Saturday, every Wednesday we start a meeting and we are talking about stopping the run. We have just got to do a good job when we get people left-handed where they are only doing one thing like San Diego became on Sunday. We have got to do a good job in pass coverage when that happens."

The Vikings were able to get more aggressive in rushing Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the fourth quarter last Sunday as Minnesota built its lead, but linebacker Ben Leber cautioned against starting a game with that approach.

"You just can't come out in the first quarter and say, ‘Hey, guys, go!' They still have the ability to run the ball, unless we're up by 21 points in the first quarter. So realistically you want to get in those situations late in the game where you know they have to throw the ball to win the game," Leber said, adding that the no-huddle offense is something for which the Vikings have to be prepared.

"Every team is going to play to their strengths and exploit their opponent's weaknesses, and right now our weakness is our pass defense. Dallas came out in the no huddle and had some success against us. They did the same thing. We have to be ready for the no huddle."


Who is active or not on special teams usually has a lot to do with how much they can contribute in other areas on offense or defense. That's why, with Peterson and Chester Taylor firmly entrenched as the No. 1 and No. 2 running backs on the roster, special teams coach Paul Ferraro couldn't completely commit to Mewelde Moore returning punts for the rest of the year.

The statistics for him to do that seem pretty compelling. Bobby Wade had been exclusively handling those duties through the first seven games and averaging 7.6 yards per return with a long of 17 yards, and some of his decisions on what to field and what to let go have also raised eyebrows. He has returned 13 punts and called for nine fair catches.

With Wade struggling with a hyperextended knee last week, Moore, in his only action of the season, returned four punts for a 14.8-yard average and already easily eclipsed Wade's long of the season with a 42-yard return against San Diego.

Still, Ferraro wasn't ready to hand the job to Moore for the remainder of the season.

"It's not automatic. Certainly we're excited about the return that (Moore) had," Ferraro said. "I'd like to think that there was a lot of good things that were going on that allowed that to happen in terms of the blocking and some of the things that were set up. He made a couple of guys miss and he had a nice return, so he is certainly part of the plan this week."

Aundrae Allison's first kickoff return of the game was also a big hitter, gaining 62 yards after a fake lateral pass to Adrian Peterson to draw the coverage to the side of the field. Allison had been inactive for three of the previous four games, but with Wade's injury and Troy Williamson not attending the game because of a funeral, the Vikings activated Allison.

Ferraro said he has never had two players active whose only role is to return punts and kicks, respectively, but with Williamson's status for the Packers game still to be determined, Allison might have another shot this week in Lambeau Field if he can contribute on offense as well.

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