Proposed rule aimed at aggressive runners, such as Vikings' Peterson

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 20, 2013 - 11:53 AM

Ball carriers might be penalized for lowering their head and plowing into would-be tacklers.

hide

Madieu Williams (41), DeAngelo Hall (23), and Rob Jackson (50), combine to bring down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson

Photo: Cliff Owen, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– During his 2,097-yard MVP blitzkrieg last season, Vikings star Adrian Peterson ran with the unbridled tenacity for which he’s always been known, dishing out vicious shots as often as he absorbed them.

Peterson has excelled with that Pamplona bull style. But now, with the NFL in heated debate over a rule proposal that would penalize ball carriers for delivering contact with their heads, it’s worth wondering whether some of Peterson’s most impressive and physical runs could now occasionally result in penalties against the Vikings.

On Tuesday at the NFL’s annual meetings at the Arizona Biltmore, debate continued over a proposed rule that would require a 15-yard penalty to be assessed if any ball carrier, while outside the tackle box and more than 3 yards down field, “initiates forcible contact by delivering a blow with the top/crown of his helmet against an opponent.”

It’s a pitch that has been greeted by many coaches as well-intentioned from a safety standpoint but perhaps misguided if enforced too aggressively.

The Vikings have made it clear they are wary of the rule. Owner Zygi Wilf spoke up twice during debate Tuesday morning. Coach Leslie Frazier, while noting the admirable safety objective, also raised an eyebrow at how to reasonably make such a rule work.

“I think it makes it tough for the running backs,” Frazier said. “It’s such an instinctive motion to duck that head to try to protect yourself.

“So I don’t know what’s going to happen, whether this will pass or not. But I think it puts those backs in a vulnerable state if they can’t lower their pads. And the only way to lower your pads is to get your head down.”

For the rule change to be adopted, it will require three-quarter approval in a final vote that has been tabled until Wednesday. At present, however, vocal opposition has been evident.

Frazier said he thinks the rule’s intent to reduce head injuries could wind up having an adverse effect on player safety if ball carriers begin to run more upright without ability to protect themselves legally by ducking into collisions.

“When those defenders are coming at your legs, if you don’t protect yourself and you don’t get your pads down, now you run the risk of lower body injuries,” Frazier said.

Yet Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who doubles as an active member of the competition committee, has made it clear that if the rule were adopted, officials would be instructed to look for a very specific infraction.

“We want to bring the shoulder back to the game,” Fisher said.

“We all know the helmet is a protective device. And it’s not designed to be used like it’s been used as of late.”

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, said part of the research that went into the rule proposal involved reviewing every play from Week 16 last season. In those 16 contests, Blandino said there were 34 instances of helmet-to-helmet contact between ball carriers and tacklers but only five that would have drawn penalties under the new rule.

“There is going to be helmet-to-helmet contact between a runner and a tackler,” Blandino said. “That is not what this rule is designed to take out.

“It is where one player lowers the head and delivers a blow with the crown, the top of the helmet, lines up a player and hits him when we feel he has options to do something else.”

Still, even with the competition committee and officials trying to zero in on “the obvious foul,” coaches worry the speed of the game and the fluctuating discretion of each officiating crew could create too much confusion from week to week, series to series.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - B. Workman 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Washington - G. Gonzalez 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Hand
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Arizona - V. Nuno 7:40 PM
Colorado - Y. Flande
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 8:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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 Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close