Hartman: Peterson, blockers work together well

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2012 - 9:39 PM

The star runner has bounced back strong from knee surgery, meshing nicely with a revamped offensive line.

The Vikings are committed to running the ball, and they are running it better than ever.

Coach Leslie Frazier is encouraging offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to pound the ball against teams when they have a lead at the end of the game to run out the clock, as they did last Sunday against the Titans.

Of course, the great surprise has been Adrian Peterson, who has been almost exactly as effective as he was a year ago when he was fully healthy to start the season. He has been recovering from reconstructive knee surgery done last December.

Peterson had 110 carries for 498 yards (4.53 yards per carry) through five games last season and has 96 carries for 420 yards (4.38 yards per carry) this season. And while a lot of focus in the media has been on the use of receiver Percy Harvin as a running back, Peterson is also happy that quarterback Christian Ponder has started to use the running backs more as receivers out of the backfield.

"I know as a running back group, we're in the quarterback's ears, like: 'Hey, give us the ball, throw us the ball. We know you have to go through your reads, but we're going to be in our check-down position and come back and find us. We'll get 2 or 3.' That's better than throwing the ball [away] or something like that; I'm going to continue saying that to him. [Ponder] took note. He's been dishing the ball down to us."

New offensive line gels

Peterson praised the Vikings' new offensive line.

"Yeah, I felt like it was a good performance up front [against Tennessee]," he said. "You know, it really got started the week against San Fran and just went back with the same type of performance. We knew what type of front we were going up against, and we just practiced all week and got focused and in tune, making sure they executed. We were able to do the same thing on the field."

Peterson added: "You see the body language of the defenders and they have a few choice words that may come out that indicate [they're tired] as well. In the third or fourth quarter, you see those guys just kind of laying it down, not really coming in with the same type of physicality on different plays. That's when you know guys are shutting it down, and we sense that."

Peterson said the Vikings' running backs want to be a cohesive group, no matter who is in the backfield.

"We're sound in our run game," he said. "Something we take pride in as a group, offensively, is running the ball. We're going to go out and do our job and outrush these guys."

Peterson suffered a sprained ankle last week, but it was nothing serious.

"You know, I'm getting better each week, just fine-tuning," he said. "I'm getting stronger and just doing the necessary things to take care of my body, icing and doing different treatments and stretching and stuff. But I'm feeling great."

U recruits stand out

Gophers quarterback recruit Chris Streveler is having a great year for Marian Central Catholic High School in Crystal Lake, Ill., which is undefeated and just beat Montini, the No. 1-ranked team in Illinois, 49-24 last weekend. In that game Streveler, who verbally committed to the Gophers in June, rushed for four touchdowns and threw for two. He finished the game with 136 yards rushing on 17 carries and went 14-for-18 for 147 yards passing.

Streveler also recently told the Northwest Herald that he will enroll early with the Gophers. "Hopefully, I can compete for some kind of playing time whether they're starting me at quarterback or if I can find my way on the field as a safety or a wide receiver," he said. "So I'm just hoping I can get up there and compete, get with the guys and start [building] that camaraderie."

Two basketball players coveted by Gophers coaches recently were highlighted by ESPN reporter Reggie Rankin at the 2012 USA Basketball men's developmental national team minicamp for players in the 2015 and 2016 recruiting classes.

Henry Ellenson, a 6-8 sophomore and younger brother of Wally Ellenson, who will be a freshman at Minnesota this year, is out of Rice Lake, Wis., Rankin wrote: "Ellenson is a coach's dream and an opposing post player's worst nightmare. He has size, strength, skill and the ability to score with his back to the basket and can easily extend to the arc when facing it."

Also highlighted was Hopkins 6-5 guard Amir Coffey, a Class of 2016 recruit and son of former Gophers center Richard Coffey. So far Amir has only been offered a scholarship by Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, but the Gophers are recruiting him. Rankin wrote of Amir: "Coffey has off-the-charts upside. At times he reminded me of a young [Michigan "Fab Five" guard] Jalen Rose."

Jottings

• One person convinced he will play against Northwestern for the Gophers football team Saturday is quarterback MarQueis Gray, who has missed the past three games because of a left high-ankle sprain. He might not be 100 percent, but he wants to try it against the Wildcats for sure. If Gray plays, that will be good news for the Gophers. In a 28-13 loss to Northwestern last year, he rushed 27 times for 160 yards and one touchdown.

• The Gophers will surely try to duplicate what Penn State did in beating Northwestern 39-28 on Saturday by controlling the ball for 39 minutes, 17 seconds of the 60-minute game. A year ago the Wildcats were one of the top passing teams in the county, but currently they are ranked 95th in the country in passing with 199 yards per game, or about 55 yards per game lower than last year. However, their running game will test the Gophers -- the Wildcats rank 14th in the nation at 233.5 yards per game. ... Look for the Gophers to put some more discount tickets on sale for the game, which isn't close to being sold out.

• The Twins wound up signing their first 11 picks in the MLB draft. A total of 27 players signed with the team overall.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
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 NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close