Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He has temporarily returned to cover the Minnesota Vikings. He had the beat from 2008-2011 after covering college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.Find Chip on Facebook.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
MANKATO -- Running back Adrian Peterson came away from Monday's team meeting with NFL officials more convinced than ever that he needs to abide by the new rule banning players from hitting with the crown of their helmet. The final selling point for Peterson came when the officials showed the Vikings the video that the league has put together to explain this year's new rules and points of emphasis.
In the video, top-of-the-helmet blows delivered by Peterson and Cleveland running back Trent Richardson are used as examples of plays that now will be a 15-yard penalty.
"I knew that I ducked my head and used my crown a lot, but the example they picked, they must have picked the worst one because I had my head all the way down," Peterson said. "You'd think I hit [the defender] with the back of my neck. That's how far my head was down."
Peterson said he and teammates asked the four officials a lot of questions. Obviously, Peterson asked a lot of questions about what a player can't do when it comes to hitting with the top of his helmet. Per the new rule, the hit must occur outside the tackle box and at least 3 yards downfield. The player delivering the blow must deliberately line up his target and then lower his head and hit with the crown of the helmet.
"How I'm going to attack it is just try to keep my head up at all times and not lower my head," Peterson said. "Not only because I could hurt someone else, but I could hurt myself as well. When I seen that play last night, you could sense how bad it could have been had I been hit the wrong way. So just being visual and seeing that, there is even more emphasis that I'm going to abide by that rule to protect myself."
Have you heard yet about this goal Adrian Peterson has of rushing for 2,500 yards this season? Even though most folks are missing the point of why Peterson set the bar that high – it’s more about the challenge than the figure itself – it’s all anyone can seem to talk about when they discuss the league MVP.
After Friday’s walk-through, head coach Leslie Frazier was asked if players vocalizing individual goals was OK with him or a potential distraction.
“Guys in general is one thing,” Frazier said. “Adrian Peterson is another. When Adrian says 2,500 or 2,000 it’s a different thing. It’s a different matter. Because he’s more than capable of achieving those goals. I’ve learned that. When he told me last season that he was going to have the type of year that he did have and for it to turn out the way it did, I don’t doubt Adrian Peterson. If he says he can gain 2,500, it’s possible. If it was someone else talking about predictions and this or that, maybe we’ll have a conversation. But Adrian? Nah. I like to see him achieve his goals.”
OK. It's been well documented that Adrian Peterson was agitated that he fell 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record a year ago. And in order to raise the bar for 2013, Peterson has announced a personal goal to chase a 2,500-yard season.
But that's not the only milestone the always motivated running back keeps in the back of his mind. Peterson also wants to some day leave the game as the NFL's all-time leading rusher, a record currently held by Emmitt Smith.
Peterson, with 8,849 yards, is approaching the halfway mark to Smith's 18,355-yard record. And last December, in our in-depth profile of Peterson as the Star Tribune Sportsman of the Year, we told A.D. that he was on pace to catch Smith in Week 4 of 2019. Peterson wouldn't accept the math, vowed to get the record sooner and promised to get back to us with his prognostication.
On Saturday, in an exclusive sitdown with the Star Tribune, we finally made Peterson do the math.
The full transcript of our discussion with Peterson will post online soon. And you won't want to miss his candid thoughts on a whole variety of topics, ranging from Robert Griffin III's ACL recovery to the trade of Percy Harvin to his suspicions of performance-enhancing drugs in the NFL to the lingering sting of the Vikings' NFC title game loss to New Orleans four seasons ago.
But here is the part of the exchange where Peterson, playing along in good spirits, finally delivered a projection on reaching Emmitt Smith.
Just to break it down for you in full, that gives Peterson 79 games to amass the 9,506 yards he needs to reach Smith. That comes out to a per-game average of 120.3 yards per contest with the assumption that Peterson avoids injury and doesn't miss a game between now and Week 16 of 2017. Yes, it's pushing it indeed. But good fun to consider, right?
Check back to StarTribune.com on Sunday night for the entirety of our conversation with Peterson.
MANKATO -- Thursday, a reporter made a good point. Hey, it happens sometimes.
The reporter's question for Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, in not so many words, was basically, "Ah, ya know this Adrian Peterson fella did pretty well last year with nary a snap in the preseason. Why is God's green earth would he play a snap in this year's preseason?"
Standing on sidelines during exhibitions worked out pretty well for many years during LaDanian Tomlinson's soon-to-be Hall of Fame career. It also preceded Peterson's 2,097-yard, MVP-winning 2013 season.
“You probably won’t see Adrian get a whole lot of carries in the preseason,” Frazier responded. “He’ll get some opportunities in the preseason, but his workload will come when we kick off the season, not the preseason.”
Wonder what the over-under is on Peterson's preseason "opportunities." Perhaps 10? Or perhaps that's 10 too many based on what AP did a year ago.
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