Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Chat OT: Adrian Peterson doing so much damage with so little help

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Vikings coaches, Adrian Peterson Updated: December 5, 2012 - 11:11 AM

If you missed my live Vikings chat on Tuesday afternoon, you can check in here and read the back and forth in full. In addition, each week I go overtime, bringing good questions I didn’t get around to answering on the chat here to the Access Vikings blog for discussion.

Here we go …

Question 1: Adrian Peterson sure seems like he’s the undisputed best running back in the NFL again. And he’d probably be an MVP candidate if the Vikings made the playoffs. But in all honesty, in this era of pass-happy football, what does having the best running back in the league really get you? Also, has there ever been a back to lead the NFL in rushing while getting so little help from his quarterback?

Good question. And we took the liberty to find out, looking back at the past 10 rushing champions, seeing how their teams fared and assessing what their quarterbacks did. (We also projected Peterson’s final stats for this season based on his current pace.) Have at it … 

 

YR
RB
TM
CAR.
YDS
YPC
REC
YDS
TOTAL TDs
W-L
QB
TM PASS YDS/GM
‘12
Adrian Peterson
MIN
312
1,928
6.2
48
260
11
8-8
Christian Ponder
180.6
‘11
Maurice Jones-Drew
JAX
343
1,606
4.6
43
374
11
5-11
Blaine Gabbert
156.9
‘10
Arian Foster
HOU
327
1,616
4.9
66
604
18
6-10
Matt Schaub
273.1
‘09
Chris Johnson
TEN
358
2,006
5.6
50
503
16
8-8
Vince Young
194.0
‘08
Adrian Peterson
MIN
363
1,760
4.8
21
125
10
10-6
Gus Frerotte
201.1
‘07
LaDainian Tomlinson
SD
315
1,474
4.7
60
475
18
11-5
Philip Rivers
198.4
‘06
LaDainian Tomlinson
SD
348
1,815
5.2
56
508
31
14-2
Philip Rivers
213.3
‘05
Shaun Alexander
SEA
370
1,880
5.1
15
78
28
13-3
Matt Hasselbeck
227.0
‘04
Curtis Martin
NYJ
371
1,697
4.6
41
245
14
10-6
Chad Pennington
201.9
‘03
Jamal Lewis
BAL
387
2,066
5.3
26
205
14
10-6
Kyle Boller
157.3
 
‘02
Ricky Williams
MIA
383
1,853
4.8
47
363
17
9-7
Jay Fiedler
191.8
AVG
 
 
356
1,777
5.0
43
348
18
10-6
 
201.5
 
[ NOTE: The final row lists the averages of the past 10 rush champions coming into this season. Also worth noting, the rushing champions to make the postseason were Lewis, Martin, Alexander, Tomlinson (both seasons) and Peterson.]

In summary, it appears that only Jamal Lewis in 2003 and Maurice Jones-Drew last season were getting less complementary help from their passing attacks while still having monster seasons on the ground. It’s also interesting to note that six of the past 10 rushing champions have played in the postseason, including Peterson in 2008.

We’ll let you draw your own conclusions from all the other statistics above. Have fun.

Question 2: The consternation from fans and talking heads regarding Ponder is fairly entertaining. Most people didn't pick this team to win the six games it has already won. We've got no decent healthy receivers. And Ponder has now basically played one full season. How can this team possibly complete an evaluation of this QB without playing him these last 4 games?

Well, for starters, let’s just put out the reminder that the Vikings plan to give Ponder the final four games to regroup. Barring injury, he’ll likely be the starter the rest of the way. And these final four games will also add to the thorough evaluation being done by just about everyone right now, including the coaching staff and front office.

Again, though, this isn’t just about a win-loss total. It’s about trusting what you see. And for those who are increasingly agitated by Ponder, what they’re seeing is a quarterback who continues to throw costly interceptions while not making many big plays whatsoever in the passing game.

Ponder is also not using his mobility and athleticism to create a whole lot extra. This is worrisome. There’s no way around it. You look at the things Rodgers can do with his feet, the things Cutler does with his feet, heck, the things Russell Wilson is doing and there’s just a general ease about them. They’re making plays without seeming hurried or out of sorts. Ponder is not.

For Ponder, his most important priority in 2012 was to avoid negative plays – i.e. drive-killing sacks and costly turnovers. And the two picks in Green Bay were justifiable reasons for the fan base to panic a bit. Those were game-changing.

Yes, the point about having mediocre receivers is valid. But it’s not the biggest reason for Ponder’s recent slump. Plus, his inability to produce victories after the Vikings fall behind is notable. That’s part of that “it” factor. And the idea that the passing attack is struggling so badly despite seeing pretty simple coverages with minimal safety support is alarming.

Question 3: How do we light a fire under Coach Frazier? We need some emotions on the field. Sometimes it looks like he is just too cool to get excited. This is an emotional game and it needs to be reflected by the head coach!

Common question. Flawed theory. Not buying.

How much emotion does Bill Belichick show during games? How fiery do Mike McCarthy and Lovie Smith seem to you?

How about Mike Smith and Gary Kubiak, who just might be playing each other for the Lombardi Trophy two months from now.

Having a fiery head coach is not a prerequisite for having big-time success. Having a coach who can connect with players? Having a coach who can devise sharp game plans to put his team in position to succeed? Having a coach who can make good in-game decisions and adjustments? That’s much more valuable than a guy who will punt his clipboard and scream and yell and act like a lunatic.

But, hey, you could always have Rex Ryan, right?

Frazier has his own leadership style. And while it remains to be seen whether he can get the Vikings over the hump, his success or failure won’t be a result of his sideline demeanor.

Question 4: Why did AP sit out an entire series in the game against Green Bay? Why isn't he in on some third downs?

You find me a running back in the NFL who doesn’t get a series off now and again. No different with Adrian.

As for third downs, Toby Gerhart is a more reliable pass blocker and has proven more capable of providing that extra little protection. That’s it in a nutshell.

Question 5: Why do you keep saying the playoffs are out of the picture? You might have opinions on how the rest of the season will play out, but as of this very moment, they are still in the hunt.

I’m OK with the Vikings coaches and players believing the playoffs are still a possibility. They have to think that way. I’m OK with the fans holding out some hope for that, too.

Me? As an objective observer with nothing invested though, I’m making an educated guess that a team that has lost five of its last seven is not going to win the final four against strong competition.

I’m using informed insight to see that they are too flawed in too many key areas to make a run.

They haven’t won four games in a row since Favre was having his glory days here. And if you don’t think they’re going to lose another game this year, you’re nuts.

Lastly, given the NFC playoff picture, the odds are heavily stacked against them. The current divisions leaders are Atlanta, New York, Green Bay and San Francisco. That leaves a wild card hunt for two spots that includes five other teams with a record equal to or better than the Vikings’. Of those five teams, the Vikings have lost to four of them (Chicago, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington) which means that the head-to-head part of the tiebreaker equation will be a major obstacle.

There’s also the matter of conference record. The Vikings are 4-5 against the NFC. At present, among those other five wildcard contenders only Tampa Bay (3-5) has a worse NFC record.

Translation: No, the Vikings have not been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. But they’d need just about everything to break exactly right to get in.

Odds are that ain’t happening.

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT