Peterson gets help from his friends

Adrian Peterson was the star of Sunday's game, but he wasn't alone in his big effort. Plenty of praise Monday revolved around the blocking of the wide receivers.

While all the day-after talk surrounds another outstanding performance by running back Adrian Peterson, Vikings coach Brad Childress was doing some spinning of his own.

Childress acknowledged that Peterson has "tremendous skills and abilities," but the head coach was determined to praise the wide receivers for their blocking abilities on Monday. That was especially evident on a 64-yard touchdown run by Peterson.

"The thing that jumps out at you right away is the wide receivers that are mounting people up and pushing people down the field," Childress said. "Because he doesn't stand a chance with four guys running at him, but he took care of two himself – one with a move and one with a whatever you call it – it really wasn't a club. I guess it was a forearm or what have you. Those wide receivers relish in that and it's great to see them take pride in their craft and them thinking it's in their job description and it's not in their job description."

Peterson also praised the blocking on the 64-yard run that he labeled as one of the best in his career at any level. It started with the offensive line and carried into the second and third levels of the defense when wide receiver Sidney Rice helped peel a defender away from the running back.

"It's right up there. As far as effort-wise, it's got to be at the top as far as guys contributing to making a big play happen. That definitely tops it," Peterson said.

"It was a nice run. It was an amazing run, but the offensive line did a good opening (it) up. And the receivers, Sidney made two key blocks that really initiated it from outside the perimeter and being up the field, shoving a guy 10 yards away from the play that got me to the end zone."

The big play came with about six minutes left in the game and the Vikings leading 27-13. Peterson hit a hole at the line of scrimmage between Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson and got past an arm-tackle attempt by Shaun Rogers. Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson dove for him and missed five yards downfield. At the 15-yard mark, he executed a move that left safety Brodney Poole weak in the knees, and Sidney Rice was working on CB Brandon McDonald while Eric Wright came at Peterson 25 yards downfield. Peterson stopped to shove Wright to the sidelines with a forearm and turned to fend off Poole until Rice caught up to the play and peeled McDonald off once again. After that, Peterson turned on the speed to outrace linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and Abram Elam.

Peterson said he got plenty of text messages about his run. Defensive end Ray Edwards dubbed Peterson's move to get Wright out of his way as "kissing the baby." Kicker Ryan Longwell said it was probably the best run he's ever seen.

Without Rice's block, it may not have resulted in a touchdown.

"It's not only our job to catch the ball, but it's also our job to block defenders and give him opportunities to make big plays for this team," Rice said. "It was an amazing run. After he passed me on the first level and I got back down behind him, he just grabbed the guy by the head and just threw him out of bounds. I turned around to block and pushed the guy out of the way and it was over then because he was three yards in front of everybody and it's going to be real hard to catch him if he's one yard ahead."

"Everybody knows he's something special," said Edwards. "It was a great run. It was great to see it. I just keep seeing it everywhere on TV so it's fun to watch."

"Sidney made a great block on the DB that was right there. Hats off to Sidney because if Sidney wasn't right there I think the other guy would have caught him. Sidney made a great block right there to spring Adrian free."

Childress wasn't just dishing the blocking props to Rice, although he said Rice sets the tempo for blocking among the receivers. He said Harvin "put people on their backs." And Childress even lauded Berrian's blocking abilities.

"He played very well in our run game," Childress said. "All of our wide receivers, when you break runs that long, you see people pressed. I think Percy had guys knocked to the ground. Not coming across the field and knocking somebody down. I'm talking about stalk-blocking and putting somebody on their back. Sidney Rice was involved in the run game, Bernard Berrian was exceptional out there with the ball coming around the edge."

Rice said the key is never thinking the play is dead when Peterson has the ball.

"You never know with Adrian. You've seen the things he's done," Rice said. "This is his third year and he has so many great runs throughout this last two years, so you never know. You've just got keep blocking. You've just got to find someone to block because it's going to be tough for one guy to tackle Adrian."

It was just as hard for five or six tacklers coming at him separately with his variety of moves, some of which featured quickness and others strength.

NOTES

  • After Peterson's performance, the Vikings rank first in rushing offense and 26th in passing offense for an overall ranking of 12th in the league (before the Monday night games). The team also leads the league in rushing average at 6.1 yards per carry (Peterson averaged 7.2).

  • On defense, the Vikings rank 17th against the rush and 10th against the pass for an overall ranking of 11th.

  • Who would have thought this would be true – yes, we realize it's only one week – but the Vikings are tied for first in the percentage of passes intercepted? The Vikings had 22 passes with no interceptions. However, they ranked 28th in sacks per pass play. Favre was sacked four times.

  • With strong efforts from Darius Reynaud and Harvin in the return game, the Vikings rank third in punt return average (Reynaud) and eighth in kick return average (Harvin).

  • The Vikings are tied for the lead in points per game.

  • On defense, the Vikings are tied for third in sacks per pass play. They sacked Brady Quinn five times on his 35 pass attempts.

  • The defense is also tied for fifth in third-down efficiency. The Browns converted three of 12 third-down attempts.

  • The Vikings are plus-2 in giveaway/takeaway differential.

  • The two top teams in the NFL for average starting position following kickoffs? The Packers (34.5-yard line) and Vikings (33.2-yard line). The Vikings' next opponent, the Lions, are third at the 30.8-yard line. Chicago is sixth.


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