Vikings: Fine-tuning a talent

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 5, 2007 - 9:47 PM

Adrian Peterson's skills are stunning enough, but his ability to take direction and set up his blockers made him a record-setter Sunday.

The adjustment was subtle, noticeable only to the people who had suggested it. Late in Sunday's 35-17 victory over San Diego, however, Vikings coach Brad Childress picked it up.

The Vikings had gained possession at the Chargers 46-yard line in the fourth quarter. Tailback Adrian Peterson took the ball and headed toward the right side of the line. Yet instead of sprinting into the developing lane, Peterson slowed for a moment.

The extra time allowed tight end Jim Kleinsasser to finish off his block on linebacker Carlos Polk. Peterson then dashed inside of Kleinsasser, found the sideline and scored the game-clinching touchdown.

Already the NFL's leading rusher when the day began, Peterson displayed new levels of sophistication Sunday in gaining an NFL-record 296 yards. While continuing to marvel over his physical attributes, Peterson's coaches and teammates were most impressed Sunday by his adherence to their subtle suggestions.

Childress, in fact, stole a smile with running backs coach Eric Bieniemy at the end of Peterson's run; it was a practice point Bieniemy has been harping on for much of the season.

"He's just setting up things better, particularly on outside runs," Childress said. "He's patient as opposed to bursting and wanting to use his speed always."

Vikings players were given Monday off and Peterson was not available for comment. But he said Sunday that he put a special emphasis on setting up his blocks during Sunday's game.

"I really studied it and looked at the other things I can do better," Peterson said.

There were at least three separate tactics Peterson employed Sunday. The first was to give Vikings linemen and tight ends a chance to engage their men before he hit the designated hole.

"It did seem like he was more patient," center Matt Birk said Monday. "It was not only letting us get on our blocks, but also helping us set up our blocks. It just felt like at some points he was a little bit more patient."

On several occasions, meanwhile, Peterson used a head-bob to redirect a linebacker out of an impending hole, much like a quarterback would look a safety away from his eventual receiver. The move forced several Chargers linebackers toward the inside, helping Vikings blockers seal them before Peterson jumped to the outside hole.

"Even this year [as a rookie], you don't know what the kid is going to do next," safety Darren Sharper said Monday. "Every time he touches the ball, you don't know. It could be the play of all time that you might watch."

Finally, Childress was gratified to see Peterson settle for a few short gains in the first half -- decisions that Childress said would allow for better-blocked plays later in the game and for the rest of the season.

In the Vikings' zone-blocking scheme, the ball carrier is expected to land at a precise point on the field; linemen block their men away from the point where the running back is headed. When a runner cuts back, he takes defenders with him -- "and it makes it look like linemen aren't blocking anybody," Childress said.

Against the Chargers, Peterson limited his cutbacks and ran to the point of his linemen's blocks. That discipline helped set up the big second half because "the lineman trusts the fact that he is going to push [defenders] in this direction.

"That's where I have seen a marked improvement," Childress said. "Just the little idiosyncrasies. ... He obviously has enough innate skills. It's just the little things."

Such subtleties, of course, are the proverbial icing on the cake. The Vikings are well aware that most of his skills can't be taught -- only refined.

"With that guy," Birk said, "you don't want to coach him up too much. Just get him the ball and he'll feel it. Then, just ride the wave. A lot of it is just feel."

  • related content

  • Audio: Brad Childress: Good win for us

    Monday November 5, 2007

    Brad Childress addressed Tarvaris Jackson's injury and how the game went against San Diego at...

  • Patrick Reusse: Passing game gets revived as foes watch for AD

    Monday November 5, 2007

    San Diego's Antonio Cromartie scored on a 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the last play of Sunday's...

  • Sharper to Favre: Try going deep, I'll be ready

    Monday November 5, 2007

    Darren Sharper knows Brett Favre is playing some of the best football of his career, and the Vikings safety has...

  • Mark Craig: Odd as it sounds, Lions keep winning

    Monday November 5, 2007

    Kicker Jason Hanson survived Detroit's ugly years, so he's enjoying the stunning turnaround.

  • Week 9 recap

    Tuesday November 6, 2007

    NFL POWER RANKINGS(Before Monday night's game)1. New England (9-0)2. Indianapolis (7-1)3. Dallas (7-1)4. Green Bay (7-1)5. Pittsburgh (6-2)6. N.Y. Giants...

  • What's being said nationally about Adrian Peterson's record day

    Monday November 5, 2007

    Gil Brandt, nfl.com: Peterson reminds me of another running back who played for the Vikings. ... Like Herschel Walker, Peterson...

  • VIKINGS WEEK 10

    Up next: Noon Sunday at Green Bay • Lambeau Field • TV: Ch. 9 • Radio: 1130-AM, 101.3-FM

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Vikings win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close