RIVER FALLS, WIS. Running back Adrian Peterson saw limited action in the Vikings' practice Saturday against Kansas City, but the trip might have been worthwhile considering the advice he received when it was over.
The words of wisdom came from Priest Holmes, who is attempting to return to the field after missing the past 22 months because of a neck injury. Peterson, who battled injuries through his collegiate career, had missed Friday's practice against the Chiefs because of a hip pointer. Holmes got right to the point in telling Peterson that pain is just part of the job.
"The first thing I walked up to him, I said, 'You've got to play through that,' " said Holmes, who returned from knee and hip injuries earlier in his career. "That's just a part of the game. On Sunday, most of the guys are at about 75 percent; rarely will you see a guy at 100 percent. If you do have a guy at 100 percent, that's the guy who didn't play the last three weeks, and he's getting a chance to start because somebody is hurt.
"But I think as far as an injury, it's one of those transition periods where a guy coming out of college has to understand that having that perfect body that you once had in high school doesn't exist anymore. Now it's a business, now it's about being a professional, and despite how you feel just go out there and go to work."
Holmes, who played high school football in San Antonio and still makes his offseason home in that city, knew all about Peterson, who is from Palestine, Texas. Holmes talked to Peterson's mother before he got drafted seventh overall by the Vikings to offer words of encouragement. Saturday marked the first time they met face to face. Holmes told Peterson the three keys to success are assignment, alignment, technique.
"You're going to be tired, you're going to get hurt, you're going to be deprived of sleep, you're going to miss your family," Holmes said. "Outside of all those things, what are the three things you can focus on? He focuses on those and he'll be just fine."
Holmes also got to see Peterson's moves firsthand. In one series during 11-on-11 team drills, Peterson took a handoff and left several Chiefs behind as he turned the corner. Peterson said afterward that everything went well. "I just felt good," he said. "I exercised and was just trying to get it loose. I felt like I could go, so I came out practicing."
Holmes was asked what he had seen from Peterson.
"God-given talent," he said. "He has speed, power, he has a good frame, a long frame, to put a lot of muscle on, a lot of strength to add. A lot of things he'll develop in a short period of time in the next four weeks. He just has to be a professional. One of those things is going to the weight room, hitting your weights, coming outside, making sure you're doing your assignment right and then learning in the classroom."
Three rookies sit
Receivers Sidney Rice (hamstring), Aundrae Allison (hamstring) and Chandler Williams (concussion) all drafted by the Vikings last April were held out Saturday. Troy Williamson also watched from the sideline because of an infection in his left arm. The lack of receivers was one reason that practice was cut short.
"We were down to five wide receivers, so we just had to be smart," coach Brad Childress said. "It's not fair to those kids. You can't run them like a jet engine."
Allison and Williamson missed both practices against Kansas City. Rice and Williams had participated Friday. Rice, though, has appeared to be running gingerly in drills for the past few days.
Tests are not complete on rookie guard Dan Mozes, but it appears he suffered a serious right knee injury likely a torn anterior cruciate ligament during Friday's practice and will miss the season.