Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about Adrian Peterson

Sunday superlatives

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 30, 2012 - 9:31 PM

Some numbers produced during what might have been the best football game I've seen in the Metrodome:

Adrian Peterson...

-Finished with 199 yards and the second-best rushing total in NFL history, 2,097 yards. Eric Dickerson retains the record of 2,105. Peterson was nine yards shy. ``I know Eric Dickerson is stoked,'' Peterson said with a smile.

-Set an NFL record for most rushing yards in December, with 861. Clinton Page of Devner had 672 in 2002.

-Set an NFL record for most rushing yards in any month. Chris Johnson of Tennessee had 800 in 2009. (Month not provided.)

-Tied an NFL record for most 150-plus yard rushing games in a season, with 7. He's tied with Earl Campbell, who did it in 1980.

-Set a team record for most rushing attempts in a game, with 34.

Also...

-Matt Kalil tied a record for most starts by a rookie tackle, at 16, with Todd Steussie.

-Blair Walsh tied an NFL record for most field goals made in a season by a rookie, with 35. Ali Haji-Sheikh of the Giants did it in 1983.

-Walsh finished the regular season with 141 points, most ever by a Vikings rookie and second among Vikings kickers all-time to Gary Anderson's 164 points in 1998.

-Walsh tied a team record for most field goals made in a season, with 35. Anderson had 35 in '98.

-Walsh set an NFL record for highest field-goal percentage in a season by a rookie, with 92.1. Richie Cunningham of Dallas had a 91.9 percent in 1997.

-Walsh set an NFL record for most 50-plus yard field goals made by a rookie in a season, with 10.

-Christian Ponder became only the sixth Vikings quarterback to start 16 games in a season. The others: Brett Favre, Daunte Culpepper (3 times), Warren Moon, Tommy Kramer, Fran Tarkenton.

Tale of two teams:

The Packers finished the season with 4,049 net yards passing. The Vikings had 2,751.

The Packers finished the season with 1,702 net yards passing. The Vikings had 2,634.

They wound up one game apart in the standings.

-------------------------------

Yes, I do think Frazier is the coach of the year. The Colts tanked on purpose last year, and were rewarded with one of the most advanced rookie quarterbacks of all time. The Vikings won three games on merit, while winning just enough to lose a chance to draft Luck or Griffin, and improved by seven games.

I also think Peterson is the MVP. As much as I revere Peyton Manning, he took over a team that won a playoff game last year. He improved the offense dramatically but stepped into a great situation. Peterson was the dojminant figure on an offense with few alternatives, and he performed even better once Percy Harvin went out.

As frequent readers know, I don't champion locals unless I think they're deserving. I think Frazier and Peterson are deserving.

---------------------------------

I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. and 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. tomorrow. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

 

Big weekend for Mn sports

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 17, 2012 - 9:12 AM
It was quite a weekend for Minnesota sports fans, a weekend made possible by perhaps the two most popular athletes in the Twin Cities these days.
One captivated because of accomplishment, the other because of promise. Both exceeded expectations while coming off of major knee surgery.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 212 yards, moving him within reasonable striking distance of Eric Dickerson’s rushing record of 2,105.
Ricky Rubio returned to Target Center and made the kind of deft, heady plays that have made him a national phenomenon.
That’s not an exaggeration. When you talk to national NBA writers and talk to people around the country, they find Rubio more interesting than any Wolves player since Kevin Garnett was a teenager.
Both have a chance, in the season following ACL surgery, to lead their teams to the playoffs. And both teams currently hold the sixth seed in their respective conferences.
We tend to speak of the local sports scene as if it’s one big organism, when actually it’s a collection of independent businesses. But if we want to toss all of local sports into the same category, things are looking up.
The Vikings have a chance to go to the playoffs in what I thought would be a rebuilding year.
The Wolves have a chance to go to the playoffs despite a stunning array of injuries and a recent history of awful personnel moves.
The Twins are building a future winner and could, with one more veteran pitcher, be more competitive this season.
The Wild will play again…someday.
The Gopher basketball team is the best of Tubby Smith’s tenure.
And Gopher football is in a bowl game, which, while it doesn’t impress me, is better than the alternative.
Other than Peterson’s long runs, the most interesting play of the Vikings’ victory, to me, was Everson Griffen’s interception return for a touchdown.
On the play, Chad Greenway faked a blitz from the left side of the defensive line. At the snap, he sprinted to the right flat to cover. Griffen dropped from defensive end into coverage as safety Harrison Smith dropped deep. Bradford saw Griffen but thought he could get the ball past him.
Griffen was an outstanding high school running back. He’s a remarkable athlete. Once the ball was in the air, the Rams were in trouble. Griffen intercepted and scooted down the right sideline to the end zone, shaking off a tackler.
Greenway put his hand in the air, the touchdown, when Griffen was still 20 yards from the end zone. Griffen’s teammates know how talented he is.
Tampa-2 defenses are known for predictability. That play was the latest example of Leslie Frazier and Alan Williams’ ability to mix up coverages and looks this year. And it was the latest of Griffen’s plays that justified the team’s patience with him when he was known for throwing wild parties and underachieving.
Another fascinating week awaits.
The Wolves face Miami and Oklahoma City. The Vikings travel to Houston to face the Texans, who allowed 105 yards to Colts running back Vick Ballard on Sunday.
I’ll be on 1500espn today, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 2:05 p.m., and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 each morning to talk sports. You can follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

Pondering Ponder Again

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 9, 2012 - 6:07 PM

You can look at it as a positive, that the Vikings' running game and defense were strong enough on Sunday that they rarely needed to throw the ball.

Or you can look at it realistically and say that quarterback Christian Ponder continues to regress.

Sunday, he completed 11 of 17 passes, which is fine, but he threw for just 91 yards against a defense stacked up to stop Adrian Peterson. He took just one sack, but almost fumbled while foolishly trying to throw the ball away on a play that could have turned into a game-turning fumble.

He threw one awful interception into triple coverage. And he continued to look skittish in the pocket.

His post-game press conference lasted less than two minutes, because we have nothing left to ask him and he has nothing left to say.

He's a nice guy, if that sort of thing matters to you. He really is. He's accountable and friendly and honest and all that good stuff. But he's playing lousy football.

If there was a positive development in the passing game, it was that there were a few Michael Jenkins sightings on Sunday. He caught four of the five passes thrown his direction. With Kyle Rudolph catching zero passes, Jenkins at least helped move the chains a few times.

My Monday column is about what the victory meant for the team and Leslie Frazier.

I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud on Monday at 7:15, and on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. with Reusse & Mackey.

Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.

 

Wild day at Lambeau

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: December 2, 2012 - 6:45 PM

In the first 47 years of Vikings history, Viking running back produced one 200-yard game.

Scine 2006, Adrian Peterson has produced three.

He rushed 21 times for 210 yards and a career-long 82-yard touchdown on Sunday. Because of Christian Ponder's two horrific interceptions deep in Packers territory, Peterson's efforts weren't enough, and the Packers won, 23-14.

Since Washington ``held'' him to 79 yards, Peterson has rushed for: 153, 123, 182, 171, 108 and 210 yards. On the season, he's rushed 213 times for 1,236 yards and seven touchdowns. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

His previous career-high was 5.6 yards per carry in limited action as a rookie. His yards per carry starting in '07: 5.6, 4.8, 4.4, 4.6 and 4.7 before this season.

He's never been better. With four games remaining, he could challenge his career high of 1,760 yards, set in 2008.

The question of the day is whether the Vikings are wasting the best years of one of the best running backs ever to play the game.

``It's very disappointing, especially the way we ran the ball today,'' Peterson said.

What struck me, watching it live, was that the Packers entered this season once again as a Super Bowl contender, and the Vikings were thought to be rebuilding, and yet the Vikings would have won at Lambeau with a competent performance from their quarterback.

If you want to play the good news/bad news game, the good news is that the Vikings look capable of beating the Bears and Packers with decent quarterback play; the bad news is they're not getting decent quarterback play.

As I wrote in my column for tomorrow's paper, the Vikings are making a mistake, hanging the entire season on Ponder. If he plays poorly, he should be benched, just like anybody else on the team.

-I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. on Monday, and on with Reusse and Mackey on 1500ESPN tomorrow afternoon.

My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

 

What a mess

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 4, 2012 - 8:53 PM

Watching the Vikings lose on Sunday, I started to wonder:

Would they be better off just handing the ball to Adrian Peterson or Percy Harvin (when he's healthy) in all situations?

First down? Of course. Third and short? Of course. Third and 20? Why not? When a back averages almost 11 yards a carry against a good defense, and the quarterback throws for 44 net yards, wouldn't you be better off treating third-and-long as a running down?

Of course, that's not realistic. The Vikings are obliged to try to throw the ball. But it's not working right now.

Remember, through four games, Ponder was completing about 70 percent of his passes. Now he looks like he's afraid to throw a bubble screen to Harvin.

I still think Ponder has the arm strength and athletic ability to be a good NFL quarterback. His slump has made me question his fire and toughness. I think I'd feel better about his play if he was making mistakes of aggression, instead of looking tentative.

That's the subject of my Monday column.

I don't know if I've ever seen a game in person where two backs ran harder than Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch did on Sunday.

``To watch those two guys run the football, you don't see it too often in a lifetime,'' Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said.

Both dish out punishment. What's even more impressive to me is that they will subject themselves to so much extra punishment to twist for an extra yard, or push the pile forward.

Peterson might win the rushing title in his first season after major knee surgery. I'm having trouble comprehending that.

-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 on Monday, and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.

 

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