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

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
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 NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
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: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close