A.D. Ponders Giants In Super Bowl

The NFL's rookie of the year, Adrian Peterson, spent this week in Arizona pondering what might have been with the Giants in the Super Bowl and the Vikings' blowout win over Big Blue in the regular season. Peterson talked about that and reflected on his impressive rookie season in interviews this week.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson accepted the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award this week at the Super Bowl festivities.

He also conducted numerous interviews, and in one interview with Sirius NFL Radio, he looked back and wondered what might have been for the Vikings in 2007 if they had taken care of the Redskins in Week 16. Worse yet, Peterson had to watch the Giants prepare for the Super Bowl while thinking about how badly Minnesota beat the Giants in a 41-17 win on Nov. 25.

"These past couple of weeks, especially this last week, I've been finding myself thinking about that, how we kind of demolished the Giants in New York," Peterson said on Sirius. "We had opportunity to get a spot in the playoffs by beating the Redskins (in Week 16) and we just (weren't) consistent enough. But that's definitely something I've been thinking about, how we could have got in the playoffs and gotten on a streak and made a run for it."

Instead, the Vikings lost their final two games after a five-game winning streak that put them in position to control their playoff destiny.

"It was a pretty good season. It could have been a lot more exciting, making a run in the playoffs, but I feel like it was pretty good," Peterson said.

Peterson rushed for 1,341 yards, the second most in franchise history and second in the NFL in 2007. He said he was always confident he could have success in the NFL, but it was during the preseason that he realized his elusiveness would transfer to the professional level.

"Coming in, I always felt that I could succeed at this level. But it's all about getting there and getting your feet wet," he said. "During the preseason, going out there and playing in those games, that's when I really started feeling comfortable. A good run I had against the Jets, I can remember breaking out to the side and making a little spin move. That really kind of built on my confidence."

Eight games into the regular season he already had more than 1,000 yards rushing, but a sprained medial collateral ligament in the ninth game against the Green Bay Packers slowed his season significantly. He was inactive for the next two games and then had one 100-yard effort, but that would be his final 100-yard game of the season.

In his final four outings of 2007, he had only one game in which he rushed for more than 40 yards. However, he didn't blame the various knee braces he was wearing during that post-injury stretch. Instead, he said a review of the film with his position coach, former NFL running back Eric Bieniemy, showed that Peterson may have been too anxious.

"We were watching film and he would show me the exact same play with Chester (Taylor) maybe ripping off 10 yards, a pretty good gain. Just really how he was more patient with his footwork up top, pressing the hole and being in sync with the offensive line and watch how the hole was able to develop and open," Peterson said. "I was able to see that, and once I took that and understood that and just slowed my footwork, I was able to turn my game around."

Peterson said he learned a lot from Taylor throughout the year.

"That guy is a great player and a great person off the field. I always went with the mindset, whenever I'm out there, I'm going to take care of my job. Two horses is better than one," Peterson said. "During the early part of the season, still learning everything and still trying to get in the groove, it was kind of good for me. I had time to watch him and how he was running the ball, how he was being patient with his footwork, how things were opening up."

He also gave a vote of confidence to quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who had an up-and-down season in his first year as a full-time starter. Jackson completed 58.1 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Still, Peterson said he is confident that Jackson is the answer.

"I'm convinced. Tarvaris is a young guy. I know how it was for me as a young running back coming in, so I can just imagine being in his position as a quarterback and really playing his first full season," he said. "That kid, man, he's got a lot of talent in him – a great arm. He's smart. I feel like it was just all about him getting comfortable with the flow of everything."

"He's a mobile quarterback, so he can definitely create plays outside of the pocket if he's not finding anything down the field. As the season progressed and with the two weeks I was out, I was able to just sit and watch how he improved with his decision-making. You could see some of the mistakes he made earlier, some of the interceptions and stuff like that, learning the different defenses."

Peterson will exit the Super Bowl activities and fly to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl on Feb. 10, where he will break out the checkbook and pay for about 30 friends and family members, including about 10 teammates.

After that, he said he was looking forward to some down time and is also involved in bolstering his young foundation, the Adrian Peterson "All Day" Foundation, through which he hopes to help kids get better access to athletic training facilities.

He was also busy at the Super Bowl talking to high school kids about the importance of managing money and staying on a budget. Peterson said coming into the NFL he learned a lot about setting a budget for himself, and his mom and dad.

As for Sunday, maybe because of the Vikings' blowout over the Giants, Peterson is predicting a win for the New England Patriots, maybe 24-17 "if Eli (Manning) doesn't turn ball over," he said.


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