By Judd Zulgad
Many of Adrian Peterson's teammates probably enjoyed today's off day by getting some rest and relaxation after the Vikings' 38-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. But as is often the case, the Pro Bowl running back was on the move.
Peterson is spending much of his day promoting the release of the "All Day with Adrian Peterson" DVD that was produced by NFL Films and Warner Home Video -- our own Michael Rand has a story on it -- and thus spent much of his afternoon doing interviews. He will be signing autographs of the DVD from 6 to 8 tonight at the Best Buy Rotunda at the Mall of America.
Peterson said that despite the workload, he is feeling good these days. Especially after he had 69 yards rushing on only 15 carries and two touchdowns Sunday. That marked Peterson's fourth consecutive game with fewer than 100 yards rushing and was the second time he carried the ball 15 times in a game this season. He had fewer than 17 carries only once last season and that was when he rushed the ball 12 times in the regular-season finale against the New York Giants.
"I came out of the game this past weekend, I felt good," Peterson said. "I feel good. I'll be ready for this stretch we're about to run down [against Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Green Bay]."
Peterson feels good in large part because the addition of quarterback Brett Favre means the Vikings have the type of passing attack that they lacked in his first two seasons. That means the pass is now a threat and so if opponents keep their focus on Peterson, and they have, Favre can burn them with his arm.
But while Peterson has only one 100-yard rushing performance this season -- he had two in the first five games in 2008 before reeling off a stretch of four in a row -- it's not as if his stats are suffering. He is second in the NFL in rushing with 481 yards, putting him only 6 behind Cincinnati's Cedric Benson, leads the league with seven rushing touchdowns and his 99 rushing attempts are fourth among running backs.
Last season at this time, Peterson had 98 rushing attempts, 452 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Peterson also has 10 catches for 62 yards this year after having 10 for 61 yards at this point in 2008. But the most important thing for Peterson is that the Vikings are 5-0 after being 2-3 a year ago.
"It feels good," Peterson said. "A lot of guys would probably look at me and be like, 'Adrian's disappointed because another game without 100 yards.' That's not what it's about. Would I like to have 100 yards? Yeah, who wouldn't? What running back wouldn't, but ultimately, it's about our team goals and that's why I'm in it. I'm not worried about getting the rushing title and letting that trump the ultimate goal, as far as getting to the Super Bowl. I'll take 50 yards the rest of the season, each game, 30 yards, if we continue to win. [Getting to] that big game and coming back with a ring. That's all that matters to me."
Peterson has made it clear he is delighted the passing attack is now a legitimate threat for the Vikings. This is especially true because he's good friends with wide receiver Sidney Rice, who is having a breakout season in his third year.
"I’m going into my third season, so I’ve been through those growing pains as far as not being able to pass the ball," Peterson said. "Me and Sidney, we’ve got a good relationship and other guys I’ve got a good relationship with. I’m coming out, 150 yards here, 200 yards here and not saying that these guys were taking it holding their heads down, but, you know, the reality is I’ve been playing the game for a long time and I get a feel for guys that feel like they’re really not a part, they’re contributing in a way but they’re really not.
"Now just to sit back down in the locker room and look around after a game and see how these guys are moving around fast and smiling, this is a whole different feel. It makes me feel good. I’m happy for those guys and I’m happy that we’re winning and we’re doing it in a way that everyone has been able to have an opportunity to make plays. They can’t just focus on me."
As for Peterson's DVD, he had not seen the finished product when he talked to Rand last Friday but has watched it since. "They did a really good job," Peterson said. "I was very excited when I watched it. I knew it would be good."
Peterson said one of the things he likes most about the DVD is it gives people a chance to see him as more than a football player. "It gives you an opportunity to see me interact with the guys in the locker room," he said. "Just more about me as a person. It's a great opportunity for the fans to get a good feel of my personality and the job that I do and what comes along with it. The relationships I have with coaches and different players.
"I've got so many fans, not only here in Minnesota, but across the world that look at me and they just know that I play football. They really don't know too much about me, so this DVD gives them an insight of my personality. How I am as a person. I think they'll get a pretty good feel that I'm down to earth just like you guys and they'll like it."