Adrian Peterson's performance at Green Bay on Sunday got overlooked a little bit with all the fireworks surrounding Brett Favre's struggles and ankle injury.
Peterson rushed for 131 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries and also caught two passes for 41 yards. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and delivered some punishment to Packers defenders, particularly in the second half.
"Obviously you can tell the defense was getting tired," Peterson said Thursday. "That’s what you want to do, especially in a tough game like that, so we accomplished that."
One of Peterson's most impressive plays came when he didn't touch the ball. He has been criticized for his pass protection since coming into the league, but Peterson had a terrific block on linebacker Desmond Bishop on a blitz up the middle on the touchdown/non-touchdown catch by Visanthe Shiancoe.
"That particular play that you are talking about, we watched in practice and we knew it was going to come," Peterson said. "I saw it unfold and was able to make a good pickup. Unfortunately, the touchdown that wasn’t a touchdown but really was a touchdown didn’t count."
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called Peterson's blitz pickup "outstanding."
The Vikings need another strong effort by Peterson against the Patriots on Sunday, especially with Brett Favre's injury situation. The offense can't be one-dimensional, but Peterson said he's ready to play a bigger role. He half-jokingly said he would like 40 to 50 carries.
"I can carry the load," he said. "That’s one thing I’ve always said. That’s how I prepared going into this offseason, to be able to carry the team if I have to. I accept the challenge."
Peterson ranks second in the NFL in rushing with 684 yards. He broke his own team record for most rushing yards through the first six games of a season.
With 149 yards, he will move past Walter Payton into ninth place in league history for most rushing yards in the first four NFL seasons.
Peterson talked Thursday about how a number of younger running backs seek him out during the season or offseason to pick his brain and ask for advice. He had one such conversation with Alabama running back and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram at the ESPYs in Los Angeles this summer.
"He was talking to me, telling me how much he looks up to me and everything," Peterson said. "Like I told him, ‘I appreciate the respect, but you want to have the mindset that you want to be better than me.’ We kind of talked a little bit back and forth. He kind of understood exactly where I was coming from. Just to have the mentality to be the best. There is nothing wrong with respecting me, but you want to look at me and be like, ‘Ok, I want to be better than him. What can I do?’ I think a lot of guys respect me when I come at them that way."