Hartman: Peterson, blockers work together well

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2012 - 9:39 PM

The star runner has bounced back strong from knee surgery, meshing nicely with a revamped offensive line.

The Vikings are committed to running the ball, and they are running it better than ever.

Coach Leslie Frazier is encouraging offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to pound the ball against teams when they have a lead at the end of the game to run out the clock, as they did last Sunday against the Titans.

Of course, the great surprise has been Adrian Peterson, who has been almost exactly as effective as he was a year ago when he was fully healthy to start the season. He has been recovering from reconstructive knee surgery done last December.

Peterson had 110 carries for 498 yards (4.53 yards per carry) through five games last season and has 96 carries for 420 yards (4.38 yards per carry) this season. And while a lot of focus in the media has been on the use of receiver Percy Harvin as a running back, Peterson is also happy that quarterback Christian Ponder has started to use the running backs more as receivers out of the backfield.

"I know as a running back group, we're in the quarterback's ears, like: 'Hey, give us the ball, throw us the ball. We know you have to go through your reads, but we're going to be in our check-down position and come back and find us. We'll get 2 or 3.' That's better than throwing the ball [away] or something like that; I'm going to continue saying that to him. [Ponder] took note. He's been dishing the ball down to us."

New offensive line gels

Peterson praised the Vikings' new offensive line.

"Yeah, I felt like it was a good performance up front [against Tennessee]," he said. "You know, it really got started the week against San Fran and just went back with the same type of performance. We knew what type of front we were going up against, and we just practiced all week and got focused and in tune, making sure they executed. We were able to do the same thing on the field."

Peterson added: "You see the body language of the defenders and they have a few choice words that may come out that indicate [they're tired] as well. In the third or fourth quarter, you see those guys just kind of laying it down, not really coming in with the same type of physicality on different plays. That's when you know guys are shutting it down, and we sense that."

Peterson said the Vikings' running backs want to be a cohesive group, no matter who is in the backfield.

"We're sound in our run game," he said. "Something we take pride in as a group, offensively, is running the ball. We're going to go out and do our job and outrush these guys."

Peterson suffered a sprained ankle last week, but it was nothing serious.

"You know, I'm getting better each week, just fine-tuning," he said. "I'm getting stronger and just doing the necessary things to take care of my body, icing and doing different treatments and stretching and stuff. But I'm feeling great."

U recruits stand out

Gophers quarterback recruit Chris Streveler is having a great year for Marian Central Catholic High School in Crystal Lake, Ill., which is undefeated and just beat Montini, the No. 1-ranked team in Illinois, 49-24 last weekend. In that game Streveler, who verbally committed to the Gophers in June, rushed for four touchdowns and threw for two. He finished the game with 136 yards rushing on 17 carries and went 14-for-18 for 147 yards passing.

Streveler also recently told the Northwest Herald that he will enroll early with the Gophers. "Hopefully, I can compete for some kind of playing time whether they're starting me at quarterback or if I can find my way on the field as a safety or a wide receiver," he said. "So I'm just hoping I can get up there and compete, get with the guys and start [building] that camaraderie."

Two basketball players coveted by Gophers coaches recently were highlighted by ESPN reporter Reggie Rankin at the 2012 USA Basketball men's developmental national team minicamp for players in the 2015 and 2016 recruiting classes.

Henry Ellenson, a 6-8 sophomore and younger brother of Wally Ellenson, who will be a freshman at Minnesota this year, is out of Rice Lake, Wis., Rankin wrote: "Ellenson is a coach's dream and an opposing post player's worst nightmare. He has size, strength, skill and the ability to score with his back to the basket and can easily extend to the arc when facing it."

Also highlighted was Hopkins 6-5 guard Amir Coffey, a Class of 2016 recruit and son of former Gophers center Richard Coffey. So far Amir has only been offered a scholarship by Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, but the Gophers are recruiting him. Rankin wrote of Amir: "Coffey has off-the-charts upside. At times he reminded me of a young [Michigan "Fab Five" guard] Jalen Rose."

Jottings

• One person convinced he will play against Northwestern for the Gophers football team Saturday is quarterback MarQueis Gray, who has missed the past three games because of a left high-ankle sprain. He might not be 100 percent, but he wants to try it against the Wildcats for sure. If Gray plays, that will be good news for the Gophers. In a 28-13 loss to Northwestern last year, he rushed 27 times for 160 yards and one touchdown.

• The Gophers will surely try to duplicate what Penn State did in beating Northwestern 39-28 on Saturday by controlling the ball for 39 minutes, 17 seconds of the 60-minute game. A year ago the Wildcats were one of the top passing teams in the county, but currently they are ranked 95th in the country in passing with 199 yards per game, or about 55 yards per game lower than last year. However, their running game will test the Gophers -- the Wildcats rank 14th in the nation at 233.5 yards per game. ... Look for the Gophers to put some more discount tickets on sale for the game, which isn't close to being sold out.

• The Twins wound up signing their first 11 picks in the MLB draft. A total of 27 players signed with the team overall.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 16 4th Qtr 7:38
Hawaii 10
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday in Tampa Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close