Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Notes: Adrian Peterson looking to build on Sunday's rushing explosion

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings offense, Vikings players, Adrian Peterson, Brian Robison, Leslie Frazier Updated: October 23, 2012 - 2:56 PM

 Coming through

After last Friday’s practice, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier went up to running back Adrian Peterson and asked him if he was feeling good. The Vikings had seen some things they thought they could get done with the running game against Arizona and Peterson would be a key.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’d be ready to roll,’ ‘’ Peterson said Tuesday. “I thought I had more carries than 23. Kinda felt like it. But it was good we were able to come out and do that.”

Peterson gained a season-high 153 yards on those 23 carries, scoring a touchdown in the first quarter. Peterson provided the bulk of the Vikings' offense on a day when quarterback Christian Ponder was a bit off the mark.

“We were able to establish the offensive line – those guys played awesome,” Peterson said. “And we were able to pound ‘em, take advantage of them in the run game.”

Of course, after the game, Peterson said he still wasn’t 100 percent back from knee surgery, in that he felt he still had room to improve as an explosive runner.

Actually, to be honest, Peterson said he’s kind of tired of being asked if he was 100 percent.

“Like I said, I’ll tell you when I feel like I’m at that mark where I envision myself being,” he said. “I feel like I want to say I’m there [to stop the questions]. But that would be a lie.”

The good news is Peterson's knee is improving and so is his sore ankle; Peterson said it felt better Monday morning than it had a week before. Peterson sat out Tuesday's practice, the Vikings' only one this week.

But back to that 153-yard rushing effort. “I was pumped for that game,” he said.  “I said after we lost in Washington that I felt I didn’t have my best game. And so it was something that I was looking forward to, getting back rolling. We were able to do that running the ball.”

No complaints here

Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson was on the field for 39 snaps Sunday against Arizona. He caught one pass and drew a key pass interference penalty. Other than that, Ponder didn’t throw his way.

And he’s OK with that.

“We just had a good game plan,” Simpson said. “Adrian had a very good game, we just wanted to block well for him, win the game. If it’s Adrian’s night, us receivers will block as best we can. … As long as we’re winning, everything is good.”

Winning will cure just about everything. Simpson was vocal in recent weeks concerning the tightness in his leg, which the team said was connected to a back issue. After being inactive for the Washington game he expressed his frustration. But, again, winning can change that.

Simpson defended the play of Ponder, expressed confidence in the coaches. Oh, and he reiterated that he’s feeling 100 percent healthy.

“As long as we’re winning, we want to make plays for each other,” he said. “This is a very unselfish team. We just want to win and have fun with each other.”

A good first impression

In the wake of rookie safety Harrison Smith’s first career interception, which turned into his first career TD, linebacker Erin Henderson said he wasn’t surprised by Smith’s play this season, and told a story to illustrate why.

Seems the two first met during OTAs in the off-season. One day the two of them were in the sauna when Henderson made a demand. “ We were sitting in the hotbox one day and I told him to hit a freestyle for me. Rookie had just come in, I wanted some entertainment.’’

Harrison refused.

“Part of you gets (upset),” Henderson continued. “He isn’t going to do what you asked him to do? But then there is another side of it, where you think, ‘I like that, you can stand up for yourself.’ He was going to be the guy he knows how to be. And I think you see that coming out on the football field as well. He goes out and lets his swag be his swag and goes about business the way he does.”


ETC:

--Brian Robison on his career-best three sacks on Sunday: “I hope it’s a game you look back on and say it wasn’t my best game. I want to keep getting better each week."

--Peterson when asked if he was surprised the Vikings were 5-2: “I felt we would be undefeated, to be honest with you. No joke.’’

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