Notebook: Peterson Doesn't Adjust Goals

Despite missing almost 2 ½ games with a knee injury and being pulled with 25 minutes remaining in Sunday's game, rookie running back Adrian Peterson isn't backing down from his record-seeking goal for rushing yards. Plus, see what the Vikings and Lions had to say about a couple of trick plays with a 42-10 score, and get other quotes from Sunday's Vikings victory.

Before Adrian Peterson strapped on a knee brace and displayed his dazzling running style again on Sunday, the rookie running back had missed nearly 2 ½ games because of a torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

Before that third-quarter shot to the knee against the Green Bay Packers, Peterson had amassed 1,081 yards rushing in only nine games and was on pace to gain 1,922 yards – which would break the NFL rookie record of 1,808 held by Eric Dickerson – with a 120-yard average per game.

Throughout the offseason and early in the regular season, Peterson had publicly proclaimed his goal of amassing 1,800 yards in his rookie season. So, now that Peterson has missed all that time, what is his adjusted goal?

"I don't see any reason to change (from the 1,800-yard goal) to be honest," Peterson said matter-of-factly after rushing for 116 yards on 15 carries against the Lions, "but that is not my main focus. It's to go out and help my team win any way possible and everything else will fall in place. That is what I am going to continue to do."

The best way for the team-first rookie to help the Vikings win is to continue to display his one-of-a-kind production. In the two weeks he sat out, he was praised by trainers and coaches alike for his work ethic in rehabilitating his knee. Even teammates who practiced against him saw that he might have needed a voice of reason to tame his aggression.

"Pat Williams said to me, ‘Coach, you better put a red shirt on him,' because he was ripping through the line of scrimmage" in practices, head coach Brad Childress said. "There weren't any apparent flaws. We just wanted to err on the side of caution. I think he got a little bit ticked out there. Somebody was talking to him a little bit, got around his neck and there was a lot of extra jaw-jacking going on, so it was kind of interesting to watch him bow up a little bit."

Peterson had practiced the previous week as well and worked out for trainers and coaches before the Giants game in New York, but they decided to hold him back another week. He lobbied then to be active and play, and Sunday he was again lobbying his position coach Eric Bieniemy and Childress to get a couple of more plays before being pulled with a 42-10 lead.

"I was just like, ‘I have been out for two weeks, Coach,'" Peterson said of his negotiating efforts. "I was anxious to get back out there, and just to cut it short in the third quarter with eight minutes to go I was kind of sick, you know. I understand the decision that they make and I will stick with it."

According to Childress, the Vikings entered the game hoping to get about 17 carries out of Peterson. After his second touchdown of the game with 10:06 remaining in the third quarter and with the outcome well in hand, they cut it short by two carries, despite Peterson's best efforts to regain entrance.

After two weeks of much agonizing by Vikings fans about the wisdom of putting Peterson back out on the field this season, it wasn't his knee that was a concern. Instead, his second touchdown run left safety Kenoy Kennedy looking weak in the knees as Peterson juked the safety to lunge toward the middle of the field while he slashed back to the left side and galloped untouched for the score.

"There is nothing to say. He is the best back in the league," Kennedy said. "I take my hat off to him. He has got great eyes and great feet. (He's got) balance and everything. We have got to tackle better. He does a great job making guys miss."

With four games remaining, 1,197 rushing yards in the books and a 120-yard average per game, Peterson is still on pace to set the franchise's single-season record despite missing about three cumulative games of action (including the final 25 minutes of Sunday's game).

Said former Viking and current Lion Troy Walters: "They have two great backs. Peterson is the real deal, and barring injury he will probably be one of the best ever. Then Chester Taylor comes in and there is no drop-off. With them, you have to get up on them and force their offense to throw it."

TRICKY CHILLY

With the game already decided at 42-10 late in the third quarter, Childress called for a couple of trick plays.

On fourth-and-3 from the Detroit 33-yard line, the Vikings lined up in field goal formation, but holder Chris Kluwe took the snap and threw a shovel pass to Jeff Dugan, who ran 27 yards before being tackled on the 6-yard line.

"It is a good play. Real good play on their part, good football play. We have to defend it. That is what football is," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said.

Childress said he made the calls to put the trick plays on film and give opposing teams something to think about.

"We need to give somebody a chance to pull off the rush a little bit. That was up from an early stage on. We just wanted to get it in there and make somebody else prepare for that," he said.

There may be an element of coaching for future games with the fake field goal, but when he called for a halfback pass from Chester Taylor to Visanthe Shiancoe two plays later, that seemed to irritate the Lions.

"Yeah, that kind of pissed us off at the current time, but they are trying to get into the playoffs just like we are. They are going to do the same things to give themselves a chance," safety Kenoy Kennedy said.

The halfback pass, if run again this year, could have a different look because Shiancoe dropped the ball in the end zone.

"We might have to use a different tight end besides Shiancoe over there," Childress said.

JAMES STARTS

Defensive end Erasmus James made his first start of the season. The last time James started was the second game of the 2006 season, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. That was followed by season-ending surgery last year and a follow-up procedure early in the offseason.

James' moving into a starting role meant Ray Edwards came off the bench and split time with James.

"We knew it was going to be a pass-rush game, so we started (James)," Childress said. "He and Ray kind of tag-teamed. We went with five defensive ends and three defensive tackles up in this scenario. You saw Jayme Mitchell out there. He usually couldn't be up if we had four tackles up, and he gave a good accounting of himself."

The timing also worked well for the Vikings after defensive tackle Fred Evans began serving his two-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Evans will not be eligible to return to the team until after the 49ers game on Sunday.

NO DEFENSIVE POINTS

Coming off a three-touchdown performance for the defense against the New York Giants, the Vikings defense didn't put any points on the scoreboard Sunday.

"It was boring, but it was fun," linebacker E.J. Henderson said. "Anytime you can put up that many points, we will take it."

The best chance the defense had at scoring came when defensive end Kenechi Udeze plucked a wobbly pass out of the air and rumbled 37 yards before running out of balance and oxygen at the Lions' 32-yard line. It was an interception return that left the defensive linemen in stitches after the game, with big Pat Williams claiming he could have returned it farther.


Viking Update Top Stories