Adrian Peterson continues to make it clear there's no slowing him down
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings were lacking playmaking wide receiver Percy Harvin on Sunday, and, thus, the only real assignment for the Detroit Lions defense seemed to be stopping running back Adrian Peterson.
"That is easier said than done," Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "Up to this point, as (Peterson) showed last week, he might be the most dangerous player in the league right now. Your game plan is to stop him and limit him, but like I said that's easier said than done. I don't think anybody has an easy time doing that."
The Lions certainly didn't.
Vanden Bosch spoke after Peterson had rushed for 171 yards on 27 carries and a 61-yard touchdown in the Vikings' 34-24 victory over the Lions at the Metrodome. Peterson had 120 yards on the ground in the final quarter in extending his streak of consecutive games with more than 100 yards rushing to four. He has five 100-yard rushing games this season.
This comes less than a year after Peterson underwent reconstructive surgery on his left knee to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. Peterson suffered the devastating injuries last Dec. 24 at Washington and underwent surgery a few days later.
Peterson immediately talked about redefining the timetable it takes to recover from this type of injury, but he still opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of concerns about the fact he might try to rush things.
It's now the Vikings' opponents who are concerned about just how much damage Peterson can do.
His performance on Sunday gives him an NFL-leading 1,128 yards on the season. Peterson has exceeded the 1,000-yard rushing mark in five of his six seasons, falling short only last year when he missed a career-high four games because of injury.
Peterson established a franchise mark for 1,000-yard rushing seasons, surpassing Robert Smith (four) and set a team record for most rushing yards in the first 10 games of a season.
And he's doing all of this while also recovering from a sprained left ankle he suffered on Oct. 7 against Tennessee.
In the many memorable games he has had throughout his career, Peterson usually has a signature run and Sunday was no different. His most impressive dash came in the fourth quarter when he left Lions defenders in the dust and streaked down the right side for a touchdown.
That gave him three consecutive games with a run of 60-plus yards. Last Sunday at Seattle, Peterson raced 74 yards before being brought down at the Seahawks 1-yard line.
Peterson made it clear that wasn't going to happen to him again. Lions safety Ricardo Silva was the last player with a chance at Peterson, but the running back pulled away from the potential tackle at the Detroit 23-yard line.
"Trust me, I took a lot of heat for that," Peterson said of being caught last week. "From teammates and from buddies back home, family ... but I'm one of the biggest critics on myself. I told those guys, I said, 'Hey, if I break loose again, then that definitely won't happen.'
"Jerome Felton did a good job at fullback pressing it up in there and I was able to just press it off him. Kyle (Rudolph) did a great job coming in on the Sam (linebacker) and I was able to press it off his butt and take it to the house. It was a good run. Plus, I stayed relaxed this time. Last week in Seattle, I kind of tightened up a little bit but I was able to just keep my stride."
Even Vikings coach Leslie Frazier admits that he's not sure if he saw this type of production coming from a guy who had major knee surgery.
"I knew that he was progressing all along, but to say that he rushed for (182 yards) last week and then (171) today, I don't know if you could have predicted that," Frazier said. "He seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on, which is what we all hoped for.
"But his production early on was incredible as well. I don't know if I could have predicted he'd be getting out in front as much as he is. The power, the agility that he's shown. I really believe that he's getting better as the season goes along."
As far as the knee goes, Peterson admits he does wonder after games if it will be sore in the morning but said this comes down to "mind over matter."
The scariest thing for opposing defenses is that Peterson continues to say he still is not back to 100 percent. It's a weekly question and one day maybe Peterson will say he's all the way back. But despite his success in recent weeks, he refused to say his recovery was complete.
"I still can get stronger," he said. "I'm still not there man. I'm pressing to get there, so this bye week is going to be great for me, just all of the nicks I'll be able to recover (from) and I'm definitely going to be working during the bye week because it's not off for me. I'm going to come back stronger and better after the bye."