Vikings aim to bust Adrian Peterson loose against Packers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson this week watched the film of the Vikings' regular-season opener at Tennessee. It wasn't pretty. The veteran running back managed just 31 yards on 19 carries in last Sunday's 25-16 win. His average of 1.6 yards per ...
MINNEAPOLIS - Adrian Peterson this week watched the film of the Vikings' regular-season opener at Tennessee. It wasn't pretty.
The veteran running back managed just 31 yards on 19 carries in last Sunday's 25-16 win. His average of 1.6 yards per carry was his lowest since he averaged 1.5 at Arizona on Dec. 6, 2009, and was the fourth-lowest of his 10-year career.
"I'd say there were a couple opportunities. I would say like three, maybe four runs, where I think just patience and using my vision more would allow some big chunks," he said Thursday. "In the NFL, you're going to have games where it's rough, and we're you're going to look back and see, 'What did I miss? How can I correct myself and be better?'"
Peterson, 31, gave credit to the Titans' defense and said the Vikings "didn't win every battle up front." Minnesota guard Alex Boone didn't disagree with that assessment. Heading into Sunday's game against Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium, Boone said the Vikings have put a premium on getting Peterson going.
"We've addressed it. We're working on fixing it now," Boone said. "We've got to get Adrian loose, he's such a threat. People being able to shut him down shuts down a lot of our offense, so as an offensive line we have to take ownership in that and play a lot better."
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he's pleased with that attitude but he stressed it's a team effort. He said players at all positions have to win "some one-on-one matchups."
Peterson hasn't had a preseason carry since 2011, so last weekend's game was his first in months. He didn't deny that playing behind a line retooled this offseason might have played a role in his performance.
"I would say it factored a little bit, because you can't get real reps in practice and things like that. So, just a little bit," he said. "I don't think it was that big of a deal. At the end of the day, there were still four or five plays that I flat-out missed, 50- or 60-yard plays, 20-yard plays.
"You could go back and say, 'Oh, well, didn't play in the preseason.' Or, 'You're not used to being out there with these guys full throttle.' But when you watch the film, you would have seen the little things that really stopped you guys from being really efficient in the run game."
The Titans keyed on stopping Peterson, which helped quarterback Shaun Hill complete 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards. Hill is expected to give way Sunday to Sam Bradford, earmarked as the likely replacement for injured Teddy Bridgewater since being acquired Sept. 3 from Philadelphia.
The Vikings hope an improved passing game will help open things up for Peterson against the Packers. They're also looking at making other adjustments.
"We're working on that and trying to create some better looks for Adrian and give him opportunities to get a little space to run the ball,'' offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. "When there was a place to run the ball, Adrian found it, and on a couple of those runs where he squirted out, he had a nine-yard run, he had a seven-yard run. He had a couple plays where there was an opportunity and he didn't hit the hole."
Peterson is optimistic that corrections will be made by Sunday. He referred to a feature at U.S. Bank Stadium in which the lights are dimmed when the Vikings score a touchdown.
"That's a nice effect that they have, and in my mind I envision those lights going off a lot for us this week," he said.