Craig: Peterson's second half use in Seattle explainable

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2012 - 6:57 AM

Adrian Peterson didn't get the ball much in the second half because poor quarterback play limited opportunity.

hide

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder handed off the ball to running back Adrian Peterson in the fourth quarter.

Photo: McKenna Ewen, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

When a running back has 144 yards rushing at halftime, it's only natural to wonder, ask, complain and/or scream at the top of one's purple-painted lungs, Why in the world did Adrian Peterson get only five carries in the second half!?

Usually, the typical Monday morning whining doesn't develop beyond that initial wave of second-guessing. But let's actually try to understand why Peterson played such a smaller part in the second half of Sunday's 30-20 loss at Seattle.

For starters, the two teams ran a combined 68 plays over 30 minutes of game time in the second half. The Vikings controlled the ball for 19 plays (27.9 percent) and 8 minutes, 50 seconds (29.4 percent).

Of those 19 plays, Peterson touched the ball seven times on five carries and two receptions. So we're down to 12 plays that we can use to hang offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave by his toenails from the tallest tree in town.

But wait. On four of those 12 plays, the intended target of a Christian Ponder pass was Percy Harvin, another superstar that everyone wants to see get the ball more. So now we're down to eight plays we can staple to Musgrave's eviction notice.

But wait. One of those plays was intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph on third-and-6. Remember him? Big guy with the catch radius of pterodactyl? The same guy that everyone wants to see get the ball more? So now we're down to seven plays for our "firecaptainmuskie.com" website.

But wait. There was that deep throw to Jerome Simpson, the guy everyone wants to see catch more deep balls. And there was that dropback while trailing by 10 points with 6 minutes left. And there was that other dropback on second-and-11 after Peterson had lost a yard on two of the previous three plays. And there was that other dropback on third-and-7, a down and distance that makes it impossible to hide even a struggling NFL quarterback.

So we're down to just three second-half plays to mix into Musgrave's tar and feathers. Here's a look at those plays:

First-and-10 from the Seattle 41-yard line, 3:05 left in the third: Ponder takes the snap from the shotgun as Peterson sneaks through the middle of the line, turns and looks for the ball 4 yards downfield. Ponder has plenty of time, but never looks at Peterson, who is uncovered. Ponder turns immediately and throws short right to rookie tight end Rhett Ellison, who gains 4 yards. It's safe to assume Peterson had the better chance of breaking tackles on a short pass with defenders nearby. Verdict: Ponder should have thrown the ball to Peterson.

First-and-10 from the Vikings' 6, 13:43 left in the game: There are only seven defenders in the box. A safety is creeping closer, but he's to the offense's right side when Ponder runs play-action to Peterson off left tackle. Harvin is lined up to the near left and runs 4 yards straight and cuts in. But the middle linebacker recognizes the play and easily cuts off the passing lane by simply dropping 3 yards. Ponder gives a quick look at Harvin, but wisely tucks the ball and runs for 2 yards. Verdict: Poor play design. The Vikings should have just run Peterson against a seven-man front.

Second-and-5 from the Vikings' 25, 12:05 left in the game: There are eight men in the box, and six of them are hugging the line of scrimmage. A pass is the right call. But Peterson stays in to pass protect -- his weakest area -- while fullback Jerome Felton releases into the right flat. Huh? With ample time, Ponder throws one of the worst of many bad passes on the day. The ball sails over Felton's outstretched hand and lands at Rudolph's feet. Felton is listed as the intended target in the stat book, but it could have been meant for Rudolph. One play later, with time to throw on third-and-5, Ponder throws incomplete behind Harvin on a crossing route. Verdict: Peterson -- not Felton -- needs to run the pass route. Of course, considering the horrendous throw, does it really matter?

Ponder's failure to execute is the primary reason the Vikings rank 26th in average time of possession (28:11). Atlanta, which has the offense the Vikings aspire to, ranks eighth (31:38).

That extra 3 minutes, 27 seconds of clock time might not seem like much. But you'd be amazed how much it would help in two critical areas the Vikings are struggling with: Resting a tired run defense and giving Musgrave even more realistic opportunities to use the league's best running back.

Mark Craig mark.craig@startribune.com

  • VIKINGS WEEK 10

    Up next: Noon Sunday vs. Detroit

    Mall of America Field • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 76 4th Qtr 8:56
Portland 75
Houston 55 3rd Qtr
Denver 60
Indiana 51 3rd Qtr 11:50
LA Clippers 52
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 1 3rd Prd
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
NC A&T 55 FINAL
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
TX A&M-CC 73 FINAL
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 40 2nd Half 3:53
Pepperdine 42
Portland 41 2nd Half 10:52
UNLV 37
CS-Northridge 26 1st Half 2:47
Oregon 32
Grambling St 13 2nd Half
Washington 45
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
UNLV 84
NC A&T 70 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60
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 Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close