Notebook: Where's Adrian?

Adrian Peterson's disappearing act in the fourth quarter could partially be explained by the offense's lack of plays in the final period. See what head coach Brad Childress and quarterback Gus Frerotte had to say about the topic and see how Peterson's production was declining leading up to the fourth quarter.

Several times in his tenure as Vikings head coach, Brad Childress has referenced the once-popular brain teaser, Where's Waldo? After Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many Vikings fans were asking, ‘Where's Adrian?'

Running back Adrian Peterson rushed six times in the second half and didn't get the ball in his hands on offense in the fourth quarter. Some of the explanations Monday were logical. The Bucs dominated the time of possession in the fourth quarter – 12:34 to 2:26 – minimizing any attempts toward Peterson.

"We tried to get him involved with the kickoff return," Childress said Monday, referring to Peterson returning the Bucs' final kickoff for 16 yards after Maurice Hicks fumbled away his final kick return of the afternoon. "There is a limited amount of time and you're playing a different kind of football generally in the two-and-a-half minutes that you're playing at the end of the fourth quarter. Whether you'd be smart in handing (Peterson) the football, there is only a limited number of ways you can get it to him throwing and they're playing a defense that legislates against throwing a deep one. I think the biggest thing would have been to get it back and regain a little bit of rhythm, hold onto it and make some first downs."

Instead, the Vikings didn't even get a first down in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Bucs went from a 13-13 tie at the start of the fourth quarter to a 19-13 lead on two drives that had 20 combined plays and lasted almost 11 minutes. Sandwiched in between those two field goal drives was Hicks' fumble, meaning the Vikings didn't even have an offensive snap in that time period.

"In the second half, we had a limited number of drives. … At one point in the second half we had the ball twice there (with less than four) minutes left in the fourth quarter. At that point, we have to go into the two-minute drill," quarterback Gus Frerotte said. "We don't get to run it like we wanted to. So the first half was definitely different from the second half. We didn't get to pound Adrian as much as we would have liked to at the end of the game."

In their seven snaps on the last two drives, Peterson didn't run the ball and Frerotte only threw one pass his way, an incompletion. But Frerotte said that Peterson is still part of the Vikings' two-minute offense.

"He is. Our backs are always involved. We're trying to do things to get him out of the backfield and make plays. We just thought we had to throw it and move the ball down the field at the end of the game," Frerotte said.

However, on the Vikings' final drive, the FOX broadcast of the game showed Peterson in an animated discussion with running backs coach Eric Bieniemy on the sideline while the star back sat out the final drive. That drive lasted only three snaps, one of those being a Vikings penalty.

"That's par for the course for those guys. I think it looks a little bit more overdramatized when I see it run on a loop 16 times in a row, wouldn't you say?" Childress said, referring to post-game coverage. "It wasn't that repetitive. It was kind of a one-time deal. Football is an emotional game and E.B. is an emotional guy and so is Adrian. I appreciate both of them for it, but that's how they communicate with each other. I don't think there is any disrespect intended."

While the Bucs were eating clock, gaining five first downs and going 2-for-5 on third downs in the fourth quarter, the Vikings were 0-for-2 on third downs and 0-for-1 on fourth down in the fourth quarter. They also fumbled the ball twice, both of them being recovered by Tampa Bay.

Meanwhile, Peterson's rushing numbers went from gaudy in the first quarter (six rushes for 51 yards and an 8.5-yard average) to pedestrian in the second quarter (7-20-2.9) to bad in the third quarter (6-14-2.3) to nonexistent in the fourth quarter.

"The last two (drives) were actually two-minute drives. So the time of possession obviously didn't allow us a chance to get really much rhythm at all," Childress said.


Childress responded to a number of questions about the defensive line on Monday.

Jared Allen, who was held without a sack, was in the locker room and reportedly in obvious pain after playing his second straight game since suffering what he termed a Grade-3 sprain of the AC joint in his shoulder.

"He was just up in the office and obviously he feels much, much better today," Childress said. "But for me to tell you he's going to be pain-free the rest of the year, he's not going to be pain-free until the football season ends. That's just the way it is. That's the way it is with a number of guys on our football team. "

Allen is scheduled to meet with NFL officials on Tuesday to discuss a few questionable hits he has put on quarterbacks in the previous two games.

On Sunday, it was defensive end Ray Edwards that drew a late-hit penalty on Bucs QB Jeff Garcia. Childress said Edwards' hit was "OK."

"I know that Garcia had run around there so everybody was in kind of a chase mode. I saw it this morning. My general thought on that is when you slow things down, you look at it on HDTV and you ... football is a full-speed game and it happens at full speed and you're trying to make snap judgments at full speed," Childress said. "I thought on that particular play, he had come back into the pocket and I actually felt like that was intentional grounding. If you look at exactly where it happened, it happened right dead between the hash marks and the ball was thrown out of the back of the end zone to try to avoid a sack. In my estimate, OK. Ray's trying to make estimations, too, in terms of, ‘Is the guy going to run some more?' I think then the flag went down and it was a personal foul. I think you get a different sensation when you look at it in regular speed and I look at it in my coach's copy."

Finally, defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are scheduled to visit NFL offices later this week to talk about their reported violation of the league's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances. Childress said he will just keep preparing the team for the Jacksonville Jaguars and not deal with the possible suspensions to the Williamses.

"That way our guys are not getting out over their skies. I think you make a huge error when you do that. It's a negative energy drain, and I think it's just important to stay with the positive energy right now," Childress said.


Childress said the coaching staff was discussing the possibility of Artis Hicks replacing Ryan Cook as the starting right tackle.

"We're just speaking about all that right now as a staff. We just barely got our grades put up on the board and pulled the whole thing apart. I'd be remiss in speaking about that right now," Childress said Monday.

Cooks has had a false-start penalty each of the last three games and had a facemask penalty called against him in the last Green Bay game that was declined because the Packers sacked Frerotte on that play anyway.

Hicks started the first four games of the season at left tackle when Bryan McKinnie was suspended. At the time, the coaching staff said that Hicks is more comfortable playing on the left side of the line.


Childress had a parting quote for the media to end his press conference Monday, saying he didn't know the author of the quote: "Editorialists and columnists are like men that come down from the mountains after the battle and shoot the wounded." Childress added, "I thought there was a certain something to that. … I didn't just make that up. I didn't just dream that up. I'm not that deep."

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