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Updated: September 30th, 2012 6:07pm
Adrian Peterson gets rolling in Vikings win, 'but I can get stronger'

Adrian Peterson gets rolling in Vikings win, 'but I can get stronger'

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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DETROIT -- Before Sunday's game, Percy Harvin asked Minnesota Vikings halfback Adrian Peterson how he was feeling.

"He told me, 'Icy,'" Harvin recalled after the Vikings' 20-13 win over the Detroit Lions.

"That's me and his language. When he tells me 'icy,' that means smooth and he's ready to go."

Whatever the language, it translated to Peterson's best performance since undergoing left knee reconstruction on Dec. 30.

He ran for 102 yards on 21 carries almost entirely between the tackles, shaking Lions defenders off his legs again and again.

"It just seems like that was the Adrian that we were hoping to see," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Didn't know if would be the sixth game, seventh game, eighth. But (Sunday), there were some runs he made that he finished that you go like, 'Wow. He's about there, if he's not quite all the way there.' It just looked like the Adrian of old in so many ways."

Peterson wouldn't say he's all the way back to pre-surgery form -- "I feel like I can get better," he said -- but his 4.9-yard average was particularly impressive considering Lions safety Erik Coleman lined up like an extra linebacker much of the day.

"It's huge, man," Peterson said. "For teams coming in, they know that, hey, the Vikings are going to run the ball. We've got a good offensive line. Just look at the defense we played (Sunday). They had an extra guy in the box and we still were able to be productive."

His three "explosive" runs of 12 yards or longer, including an 18-yarder in the second quarter, and eight of his carries (38.1%) went for a first down.

"I don't know if he's going to say he's 100 percent," quarterback Christian Ponder said, "but he looks 100 percent to me. You see a progression every week. He's just getting more comfortable with what he's doing."

Peterson said he felt he had "five or six" chances to break a big one -- including one second-half run on which Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch pulled off one of Peterson's shoes, then spiked it in frustration because he realized he didn't have the foot, too.

"We watched film. We noticed how good he was," Lions end Cliff Avril said. 'He's been playing pretty good the last few weeks. Can't take anything away from that guy. He's a heck of a football player."

The 100-yard game was Peterson's sixth against the Lions and 28th in his career, one shy of Robert Smith's franchise record. Through four games, Peterson has 332 yards on 79 carries (4.2 average) -- putting him on pace for a 1,300-yard season.

"So far, yeah, I feel like that was my strongest (game)," Peterson said. "But I can get stronger."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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