It has already been a tough week for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. After all, he does share a locker room with five Notre Dame players all still gloating over the Fighting Irish's 30-13 Saturday blowout of Oklahoma.
"Rough week for me," Peterson said, "and for my pockets. It is what it is."
Now, Peterson faces another big challenge with this weekend's game in Seattle. The Seahawks defense ranks fifth in the league against the run. The top backs from their first eight opponents have averaged just 47 yards.
Peterson called the Seahawks defense "stout" and "aggressive." But he also feels like he's in a groove, the NFL's leading rusher and coming off consecutive 100-yard games against Arizona and Tampa Bay.
"Each week I'm improving, getting better," Peterson said. "I wouldn't sit here and say [I'm] back in a groove. I feel like I've been in a groove the entire season so far."
The rushing lead is something Peterson is proud of but doesn't overvalue, especially at this stage of the season.
"I've said all the time, when I worked during the offseason, I work to be the best," he said. "So I take a lot of pride in it. But it's still a long season. I'm not focusing on that."
Peterson is raising the bar for what he can accomplish as he continues to improve.
"I'm doing what I've got to do to help my team succeed. That's rushing for 100 yards, 80 yards, 60 yards receiving. Three-hundred yards rushing, I'm going to try to get it done."
Really, Adrian? Three hundred yards?
"Yeah, yeah," Peterson affirmed. "It's possible. Come on now. You know that."
Defensive end Jared Allen says there's a reason the players seem more attentive to details and fundamentals this week. And it doesn't take Vince Lombardi or Bud Grant to understand what he's talking about.
"Yeah," he said. "We got our butts whipped. So it's humbling."
An embarrassing 36-17 loss at home to the Buccaneers a week ago Thursday has Allen especially eager to play at Seattle. But he did allow himself to look ahead a bit when a reporter mentioned the four games that follow the Seattle game. That stretch of games looks like this: Detroit, bye, at Chicago, at Green Bay, Chicago.
"It makes it fun," Allen said. "It makes football worthwhile for [five] weeks. It don't matter when you play [the division games], you have to play them. We happen to go Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay, Chicago. Hey, the division will be decided. We'll figure out if we're going to the playoffs or not.
"We got a great team. We went 5-3 in the first half and hopefully we can go at least 5-3 in the second half. We don't have an easy game from here on out."
• Coach Leslie Frazier said receiver Percy Harvin didn't practice Thursday because of a "family personal matter." Frazier planned to talk to Harvin later Thursday, was unsure if Harvin would practice Friday, but was "pretty convinced" Harvin would play Sunday.
• Tight end John Carlson, who still hasn't been cleared to practice following his concussion two weeks ago, won't play Sunday.
• Asked if rookie Josh Robinson will start at right cornerback for the injured Chris Cook, Frazier said, "Maybe. We want to watch him practice a little bit more tomorrow and make a decision probably after that."
• Linebacker Tyrone McKenzie returned to practice after his wife delivered the couple's first son.