Adrian Peterson picks up slack in ugly win

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 22, 2012 - 6:30 AM

The running back didn't play like someone with a sore ankle, and got a reward from the owner.

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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) in the second quarter.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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It might be a quarterback's league, but a running back walked out of Mall of America Field with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's purple tie Sunday.

"Pretty nice, huh?" asked Adrian Peterson, showing Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman the trophy Wilf occasionally passes out to a star player after a victory.

Seconds later, Peterson explained why he thinks the Vikings can be a Super Bowl contender after an offensively ugly 21-14 victory over Arizona.

"We have shown that we can be productive in the run game and the pass game," Peterson said. "Obviously, [quarterback] Christian [Ponder] didn't play as well as he would have liked and as well as we would have liked today. But you have those games. That's why we're a team."

Ponder had the worst passer rating (35.5) of any game he's started and finished in his two-year career. But Peterson had another benchmark game against Arizona. A year after he ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, Peterson faced a steady dose of eight- and nine-man fronts and still crushed the Cardinals again with 153 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries (6.7). Throw in 6 more yards on two receptions, and Peterson accounted for 76.1 percent of the team's 209 yards of offense. Not bad for a guy with a tender ankle.

"It's just nice to rely on other guys to take over the game for you," Ponder said. "Obviously, Adrian did that today. It definitely takes pressure off of me as a quarterback."

A week ago, Peterson lamented his lack of aggression as the Vikings settled for three field goals in three first-quarter red-zone trips en route to a loss at Washington. Peterson changed that on the Vikings' first red-zone play against the Cardinals.

On first-and-10 from the Arizona 13, Peterson took a handoff left, cut back to the middle and shot through a hole. He slammed through safeties Adrian Wilson and James Sanders inside the 5-yard line and reached the ball across the goal line with his right hand for a 7-0 lead with 8 minutes, 46 seconds left in the opening quarter. On the day, the Vikings went 2-for-2 on touchdowns in the red zone after going 2-for-7 a week ago.

Peterson had 92 yards rushing in the first half. With 6:08 left in the third quarter, he broke off a 22-yard run to surpass 100 yards. And his final carry, an 8-yard explosion on fourth-and-5 with 14 seconds left, ended the game.

"I feel like I [changed my mentality]," Peterson said. "That carried the guys. Up front [on the line], the fullbacks, the receivers, they were really out there being aggressive. That's the type of football we want to play."

Naturally, after the game, there was another round of questions about whether Peterson is 100 percent back from the left knee reconstruction he had done last December.

"Well," said receiver Percy Harvin, "If he's not 100, I'd say he's 99.8."

And he's got the purple tie to prove it.

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Miami - LP: M. Dunn 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 3
Arizona - WP: T. Cahill 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop 5
San Francisco 8 Top 11th Inning
Colorado 8
Texas - WP: M. Perez 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Houston - LP: J. Fields 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: F. Rodney 5
Cincinnati 0 Top 1st Inning
Pittsburgh 0
LA Angels 0 Top 1st Inning
Washington 0
Kansas City 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Cleveland 0
Baltimore 0 Top 1st Inning
Toronto 0
Chicago WSox - A. Rienzo 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Smyly
St. Louis - M. Wacha 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. Niese
Minnesota - M. Pelfrey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Lackey
San Diego - T. Ross 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - K. Lohse
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Miami
Dallas 7:00 PM
San Antonio
Portland 8:30 PM
Houston
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Chicago
Houston 6:30 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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