EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Adrian Peterson is a go.
That was the word in the Vikings' euphoric locker room Sunday after their 41-17 victory over the New York Giants. The rookie tailback should return to the lineup Sunday against Detroit, three weeks after tearing the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.
Internally, the team considered Peterson healthy enough to play against the Giants but decided to give him one more week to recover. He continued his rehabilitation Sunday morning at Giants Stadium -- in front of national media members who believed he was testing out the knee for possible spot duty -- and will participate in most of practice Wednesday at Winter Park.
Coach Brad Childress said Peterson will play against the Lions "providing he's able to make it through a week of practice."
Childress added: "He's just got to continue to progress and make it through a full week of practice and our game plan."
Peterson admitted he lobbied to play Sunday but said, "It didn't work." Nevertheless, he is growing more comfortable with a custom-fit brace and is confident he is on target in his rehabilitation.
"Once I get a full week of practice under my belt," he said, "I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to play. We're just going to take it one day at a time. Each day I've been improving, so [I'll] try to keep it up."
Run defense stiffens
New York running back Reuben Droughns, starting because of injuries to Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, rushed for 25 yards on the Giants' first series, including a 1-yard touchdown. However, for the rest of the game, Droughns managed only 21 yards on the ground.
"We came out kind of tight on the first drive and they scored," Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams said. "After that, we basically told everybody to calm down. I told the guys, 'Just go out there and have some fun.' That's what we did."
The Giants finished with 75 rushing yards, the ninth time this season the Vikings have limited an opponent to fewer than 100 yards on the ground.
By definition, the Tampa-2 defensive scheme the Vikings run calls for pressure to be applied by the front four and not much blitzing. But first-year defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has put his own twist on things in three of the past four games by calling for frequent blitzes and plenty of disguises to confuse quarterbacks.
It worked well Sunday against an overwhelmed Eli Manning. He was sacked three times and also threw four interceptions and several errant passes in large part because of the Vikings' pressure.
Safety Darren Sharper, who has expressed frustration about not being in a playmaking role as much as he would like this season, said he was moved around "a lot more" on Sunday. Sharper finished with a interception return for a touchdown.
Linebackers Ben Leber and E.J. Henderson also frequently showed blitz, and Leber admitted that part of the disguise left Manning and the Giants confused as to what position each linebacker was playing. This caused New York center Shaun O'Hara to be turned the wrong way on some occasions.
"He's learning us as we're learning him," Sharper said of Frazier's scheme. "He's seeing the things that we do well, and each and every week he's getting better as far as putting us in position to make plays. And the thing about it is, if you do something and you're successful, the coach is more likely to call it again."
Better on third down