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One of the byproducts, for better or worse, of the Brett Favre signing prior to the 2009 season was that running back Adrian Peterson would cease to be such a focal point in the eyes of the fans and the media.

Favre-A-Palooza was a term coined by tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and pretty much sums up a 2009 season which fell just short of the ultimate goal.  The last minute failure in the NFC Championship Game was aided greatly by Adrian Peterson’s inability to carry a football without dropping it.

After an offseason of negativity surrounding his fumbling statistics, Peterson has been showing why this Vikings offense belongs to him once again.

The struggles of Brett Favre and his receiving group have been widely documented.  Through three games Favre owns a passer rating of 60.4 which ranks him 30th in the NFL right behind two quarterbacks on the Raiders, David Gerrard, and Alex Smith.  He is also tied with Eli Manning for the most interceptions in the league with six.

So, with the passing game currently stinking worse than Lady Gaga’s closet, Adrian Peterson is once again back on the main stage and he sure has impressed.

He is 14 yards behind Arian Foster as the league’s leading rusher.  His 392 yards in the first three games puts him on pace for a 2,091 yard season.  He has scored three of the team’s five touchdowns.  He has not fumbled, which means he has turned the ball over exactly seven less times than Brett Favre. 

Peterson is also on pace to crush previous bests in the passing game, despite the poor performance in other aspects of the passing game.  His current numbers project to him having career highs of 70 catches for 453 yards.

“I probably should lead off with Adrian kind of gets overlooked in this whole deal,” Brad Childress said immediately after Sunday’s victory. “You go through getting pummeled in the offseason. These games that he’s strung together here, you see an explosive, strong, as I’ve said before, a hell of a running back. He’s really doing some good things in being patient with those runs and taking great looks at them.”

“As I mentioned to you right in my opening statement of training camp, I think so much of a light gets put on [his fumbles],” Childress said. “That guy is a tremendous football player and I’ve said before I think he’s the best running back in the National Football League. He’s a great player. Typically when you carry the ball that many times somewhere that ball is going to get dislodged. But he’s really had his jaw locked about that and I’ve just seen him grow in terms of his ability to contribute in the pass game. His ability to be more patient and take great looks at our runs.”

Peterson’s big day was highlighted by his longest touchdown run ever, an 80 yard scamper in which he employed vision, cutting ability, a solid stiff arm, power, and great speed to ensure the score.  The play, however, was one that the Viking shad never used before and came after guard Steve Hutchinson and tight end Jeff Dugan tipped him off.

“They were telling me the backside would be there,” Peterson said of why “65 U back” was called. “They said, ‘Just make sure you press it. Let it develop the way you know [it should].’ ”

While taking advice from linemen may have helped break a long touchdown, Peterson also took some advice from a retired veteran with hopes of securing the football a lot better this year.

“The first thing he said to me was, ‘Adrian, make sure you really be patient back there. Now that I’m retired, I look back and that’s something I could have done a lot better,'” Peterson said of a conversation he had with retired Falcon back Jamal Anderson. “He was like, don’t take it for granted. It was just like confirmation because I’ve been hearing from coaches and I’ve been working on it so I really just locked in. I knew it was confirmation so I really took that step.”

Hoping to leave the “fumbler” label in the dust, Peterson makes no secret of the fact that he thinks of himself as the best running back in the NFL and that he hopes to hit 2,500 yards rushing.

“I have the mindset that I know that I am the best,” he said. “In my mind and in my heart I know that and I believe that. That’s really all that matters to me. I really don’t care about other people saying, ‘Oh, well I think Chris Johnson is a better back or this and that.’ It doesn’t matter because as long as I know in my heart that I am and I’m working to be that player then I’m going to continue to rise and move forward.”

“Twenty-five hundred,” he said. “I focus on being the best player I can be to help my team. That’s where I set my bar and then I go out and play.”

Whether it is fact or not, Brett Favre and Brad Childress would like fans to believe that opposing defenses are forcing the Vikings offense to run the ball instead of throw it. 

“Believe it or not,” Favre said after the Lions game, “without watching the tape, it seemed like today and the last two games … there were teams that were kind of daring us to run the ball a bit more. Not that they feel threatened by our passing game, but it’s really how teams [have played].”

Brad Childress even says that the Vikings audibled out of multiple passing plays and ran the ball because of what defenses were showing.

“You don’t want to put round pegs in square holes,” Childress said. “You don’t want to throw up the field just to throw up the field.”

I’m not sure if a bye week will be enough to get Favre and company on track to the point that they could be productive, but if defenses are really going to focus on stopping the pass instead of “All Day”, then he could be in for a very, very big season.  Plus, he might just save the Vikings playoff hopes along the way.

“That’s the mentality I have,” Peterson said. “When things aren’t going well, I want to be able to get the guys going up front and settle the run game. So we’ve been pretty productive.”

If Favre never gets things turned around, then get ready for 2010 to be the year of Peterson-A-Palooza.

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9 Responses to “Peterson-A-Palooza”

  1. Fragile Freds says:

    “You don’t want to put round pegs in square holes,” Childress said.

    See that? The guy is a coaching genius!

    • Brett says:

      Very, very good point Freds! 🙂

    • B. Grant says:

      Now… square pegs in round holes… that’s a little different. There can be some real advantages to that. But no, Chili’s right, you don’t want to put round pegs in square holes.

      But Freds, this is the first I had heard of this jaw locking issue with AP. Could this eventually keep him out of the lineup? I don’t recall YOU ever getting YOUR jaw locked.

      • Fragile Freds says:

        Thank you Buds.

        Hey Viking Johns. Where are your old pal Fragile’s props? Freds actually came through and snuck out a victory this week in Fantasy Football. As Freds old grandmammy used to say “even a blind squirrel can find some nuts.” In anticipation of all you pervs, save the comments about nuts. Fine, Tombs you can give us one, but please narrow it down to just one.

  2. Zag says:

    This is the type of stuff I want to hear. What a great mini-story. Hutchinson assuring Peterson the cutback would be there, and it resulting in an 80 yard blast. I love it.

    Peterson’s determination is insane.

  3. CalVkg says:

    respect the run, you planks, then we’ll be able to throw on ya

    “So, with the passing game currently stinking worse than Lady Gaga’s closet…”

    hehe, keep ’em coming, adam

  4. fozz44 says:

    It was apparent early that AD had a chip on his shoulder since the championship last year. He’s poised for one of the best years of any RB in history.

    Can’t wait to see how Chilly pukes it up.

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