Teammates in awe of Peterson's game

  • Article by: Judd Zulgad
  • Star Tribune
  • November 4, 2007 - 9:25 PM

Nearly everyone who saw Adrian Peterson's NFL-record-setting rushing output Sunday was witnessing the type of performance you are likely to see only once in a lifetime.

But for Vikings running back Chester Taylor, it was familiar territory.

Taylor had been on the field a little more than four years earlier when Ravens teammate Jamal Lewis established the NFL single-game rushing record by gaining 295 yards on 30 carries against Cleveland. The mark stood until Peterson went for 296 yards on the same number of carries in the Vikings' 35-17 victory over San Diego.

"It's fortunate that I played with two great running backs," Taylor said. "Jamal did the same thing, like Adrian does. Takes it the distance. I just enjoy watching them."

Taylor isn't alone.

Among those in awe was receiver Robert Ferguson, who helped throw key blocks on Peterson's second and third touchdown runs, which went for 64 and 46 yards, respectively.

"You can't appreciate that. You can't appreciate that," Ferguson said when asked if he could put Peterson's day in perspective. "This 22-year-old young man did something that nobody has ever done in the history of football. It's something I'll appreciate when I'm telling my grandkids about a young man who ran the ball [like that]. I've been around the league for seven years, and I've never seen anything like that."

Ferguson said Peterson's 64-yard scoring run in the third quarter was the one that stood out to him. On third-and-2 from the Vikings 36, Peterson took a handoff, cut left, found a crease created by blocks from center Matt Birk and left guard Steve Hutchinson and then broke a downfield tackle attempt by San Diego safety Marlon McCree.

Ferguson, though, wasn't as impressed by what he saw as what he heard. "All I heard was 'whoosh,'" Ferguson said. "I just heard wind. I turned around and was like, 'Wow.'"

Members of the offensive line in typical fashion were understated, but Hutchinson admitted it was special for a position group that doesn't "get stats."

On the sideline, members of the Vikings defense watched Peterson run for 253 yards in the second half.

"He's special," defensive end Kenechi Udeze said. "It's funny because on the sideline watching him do what he does we just kind of shake our heads. It almost seems like it's unfair for somebody to be that big, fast and strong, and with that kind of speed it's a great thing we have him on our side."

Kelly Holcomb had to agree. The veteran quarterback was a member of the Browns the day Lewis set the previous mark on Sept. 14, 2003.

"I was on the opposite end of the other one, so it didn't feel too good," he said. "That's kind of demoralizing for the defense. There's nothing you can do to really stop him."

As for Taylor, the guy who signed with the Vikings as a free agent in March 2006 so he could be a starter, doesn't have any problem with the fact he now has another record-setting running back in front of him.

"He's helping us win ballgames, and that's what is the most important," Taylor said. "He deserves everything he's getting right now. As long as we keep winning ballgames everything is good. ... I'm at the point of my career I want to win now. I know what I can do when I get out there, and I'm going to take care of business. But whatever is helping us win ballgames, I'm all for it."

Judd Zulgad •

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