Adrian Peterson, professional football player and amateur philosopher, was asked to explain the key to avoiding negative runs.

“Running forward,” he said Thursday.

Easier said than done of late as defenses designed to stop Peterson keep feeding the Vikings running back a steady stream of punishing run blitzes. Of Peterson’s 61 carries the past three games, 15 of them (24.6 percent) have resulted in negative yardage.

However — and this is a big however — Peterson also has sprinkled in runs of 75, 23 and 48 yards for a touchdown.

“It’s like the lottery,” Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “If you don’t play the lottery, you can’t win the lottery. If we don’t give him the ball, we can’t break long runs.”

Case in point: Ford Field on Sunday. Peterson’s 11th carry was a 2-yard loss. Peterson’s 13th carry was a 3-yard loss.

But Peterson’s 12th carry? Seventy-five yards down the sideline.

In Denver, Peterson’s 12th carry went for minus-2 yards. His 13th carry was for no gain. His 14th carry was a 48-yard touchdown.

“Adrian has done a great job of not getting frustrated,” Turner said. “I know he sees how close he is on a number of plays. It’s a matter of all of us just staying with it.”

‘ChewGate’ revelation

Turner ’fessed up and admitted he was the one who inadvertently fueled the misunderstanding that led Fox to report during Sunday’s telecast that Peterson became ill Saturday because he swallowed his chewing tobacco on the turbulent flight into Detroit.

Peterson was downgraded to questionable when he became ill after eating grilled shrimp, to which he’s allergic. Turner made a joke about it during his pregame production meeting with Fox on Saturday night.

“It probably wasn’t a very good joke,” Turner said. “We hit a big air pocket bump on the airplane and then we got there and they said Adrian was sick. I jokingly said, ‘Yeah, when we hit that air pocket he probably swallowed his chew.’ I kind of just said it in a ‘ha-ha’ type of setting and someone took it seriously.”

Kendricks is top rookie

For the third time in franchise history and the first time since 2003, the Vikings have an NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month.

Middle linebacker Eric Kendricks won the award for October even though he played only three games because of the team’s Week 5 bye. In those three games, Kendricks posted 25 tackles and four sacks.

Kendricks was promoted to starter when Gerald Hodges was traded to San Francisco during the bye. In two games as a three-down player since then, Kendricks has 20 tackles and three sacks.

He joins Dwayne Rudd (1997) and Kevin Williams (2003) as Vikings to win defensive rookie of the month. The Vikings have had four players win offensive rookie of the month, including Peterson twice.

Peterson takes hits

Peterson was asked if he thinks he has been taking more of a pounding than usual this season.

“What do you see?” he asked.

Lots of big hits.

“That’s the reality of it, but I’m built for it,” Peterson said. “I’ve been taking a lot of hits this season. This last game, there was a couple of solid hits that resonated. It’s all part of just taking care of the body and letting the body rest up.”

Peterson sat out of practice again Thursday because of hip, finger and ankle injuries. He’s expected to play.

Wright returns

Four players were upgraded on Thursday’s injury report, including receiver Jarius Wright, who went from not practicing Wednesday to full participation after being cleared from his concussion.

Linebacker Audie Cole (finger) was upgraded from not practicing to limited participation, while fullback Zach Line (neck) and receiver Adam Thielen (ankle) were upgraded from limited to full participation.

Downgraded to not practicing from limited participation was tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion).

Besides Peterson, not practicing again were defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee/ankle) and defensive end Justin Trattou (foot).