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Frazier jokes about finding 9 yards for Peterson

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD and MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • January 1, 2013 - 9:58 AM

Adrian Peterson finished the season just 8 yards shy of the NFL single- season rushing record.

The Vikings running back had 2,097 yards, and his final run in Sunday's 37-34 victory over the Packers went to the Green Bay 11-yard line with 24 seconds left.

The Vikings allowed the clock to run to three seconds before Blair Walsh kicked a game-winning, 29-yard field goal.

It was not lost on most Vikings fans that had Peterson's final run gone for a touchdown, he would have broken Eric Dickerson's 28-year-old record in storybook fashion.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was asked Monday if the team might review the season to see if any extra yards could be found.

"If we could find those hidden yards, we would do it," Frazier joked. "If we can find 9 yards, we're going to find them."

Peterson, who had an apparent abdominal strain last week, told Frazier that he felt better coming out of Sunday's 199-yard performance than he did a week ago, when he finished the game against Houston feeling a bit banged up.

Out of the shadows

After four relatively nondescript years in Detroit, Carolina and Indianapolis, Vikings fullback Jerome Felton is hoping he has found a long-term home as the lead blocker for Peterson. Now, it's just a matter of that one-year contract he's playing under.

"I mean, I would hope [I'm coming back]," he said. "I feel good about it. Obviously, we have a good thing going here, and I want to be here. So hopefully everything works itself out."

Felton is only 26, so he fits the Vikings' youth movement. He also made his first Pro Bowl, proving that it can be sunny even in Peterson's shadow.

With the top four running teams and six of the top eight making the playoffs this season, including the No. 2 Vikings, Felton believes his position might not be heading toward extinction after all.

"I was talking to [FOX analyst and former Cowboys fullback] Moose Johnston a few weeks ago when they were doing our game and I was saying, 'Man, keep pumping up the fullback. We've got to bring it back,'" Felton said. "It's a cyclical league, so I think it will come back. I think the run game is important. I think everybody knows that and you always hear about it; you always hear people say it. You look at the teams that just pass the ball, outside of maybe the Patriots this year, they struggle sometimes. So I feel good about how we're built, and I feel good about the running game."

Peaking at right time?

Recent history suggests that it is sometimes the hottest team -- rather than the team with the best record overall -- that has an edge as the playoffs begin.

The Vikings (10-6) have won four in a row going into Saturday night's playoff game at Green Bay (11-5).

"We've played some games, in this last month, where we pretty much had our back against the wall, where we needed to get a win each week," Frazier said. "Particularly these last four weeks. And our guys have risen to the challenge, played extremely well, and got us those wins. Now we're into a whole new season. We hope we can continue that and improve, because we're going to need to improve to go play on the road."

Saturday will mark the third game between the Vikings and Packers in five weeks.

"We're so familiar with one another, there aren't a whole lot of new things you can do," Frazier said.

Etc.

• Defensive end Brian Robison played Sunday despite a painful shoulder sprain, and Frazier said he should be available for Saturday's game.

• The Vikings and Packers have met only once in the playoffs, with the Vikings winning 31-17 following the 2004 season at Lambeau Field.

• Frazier hasn't decided whether the team will do any practicing outside, given the expected cold weather in Green Bay. Game-time temperatures are expected to be in the teens.

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