Maybe it was just the post-Thanksgiving glow. But at Vikings practice on Friday, coach Mike Zimmer made a point of going up to Peterson and telling him how much he appreciated the running back’s work.
“I told him today how much I appreciated him,” Zimmer said. “Just everything he does for us. His leadership, the way he comes out to practice the way he prepares. Really, everything.”
Why did Zimmer do that?
“Just, sometimes, I’m nice,” Zimmer said. “I say nice things to guys. It’s not often. But, once in a while, I do.”
Peterson, course, appreciated the sentiment.
“Yeah, it feels good,” Peterson said. “But, just knowing Coach Zim, I get that sense from him anyways. That he’s appreciative, not only of me, but all the guys as well. And it’s mutual. It’s a mutual feeling.”
With the Vikings set to play in Atlanta Sunday, the NFL’s rushing leader was asked about his first career touchdown. It came against Atlanta on Sept. 9, 2007, in a 24-3 Vikings’ victory.
Interestingly Peterson’s first TD came on a 60-yard swing pass. It came in the fourth quarter, giving Minnesota a 17-3 lead. It was Minnesota’s only offensive TD in the game.
Here is Peterson’s recollection of the play: “I remember catching [the ball] and seeing like one guy to beat,” said Peterson, referring to Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who was on Vikings receiver Sidney Rice. “I remember taking off, full-speed, at him. And Sidney came off and made a great block, and I ended up taking it to the house. First touchdown. I don’t remember. Did I jump in the end zone, into the crowd? I think I did. I made the leap into the crowd. It’s one I’ll never forget.”’
Peterson didn’t start the game, coming off the bench behind starter Chester Taylor. But Peterson wound up with 103 yards on 19 carries and that 60-yard reception, which came against a Falcons defense coordinated by none other than Mike Zimmer.