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Updated: December 18th, 2011 4:55pm
Adrian Peterson not pleased with light workload in first game back

Adrian Peterson not pleased with light workload in first game back

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Running back Adrian Peterson admitted he wasn't happy about getting only 10 carries in the Minnesota Vikings' 42-20 loss Sunday to the New Orleans Saints at the Metrodome.

Peterson had missed the previous three games because of a high left ankle sprain, and the fact that the Vikings fell behind by 15 points early in the third quarter meant the running game wasn't going to be a central focus of the offense.

Still, Peterson wasn't pleased.

"I don't know how to explain 10 carries," said Peterson, who gained 60 yards on the ground and not catch a pass. "I don't know. I was ready to roll. I just do my job when I'm called upon. I go out there and try to execute. The game, we got behind, so we kind of had to turn more into a passing team but that didn't work either."

Asked if he was upset, Peterson said: "A little bit. (I) finally get back. But then again we got down so we had to start passing the (ball) a little more. It was more understandable then. I don't know. I don't know what goes through the coaches' mind.

"They knew I had the injuries so maybe different plays they wanted to keep me out. I'm sure they didn't expect the game to get out of hand like it did. I'm sure they had a strategy in mind, too. Just unfortunately we got down ... when we did, it happened pretty quick so they had to switch it up."

Frazier made it clear last week that while Peterson would play he might be somewhat limited. The Vikings had only 18 rushing attempts as a team, the second-lowest number they have had in a game this season, and Toby Gerhart carried only twice.

"We wanted to rotate (Peterson) with the amount of time that he had missed," Frazier said. "We wanted to also monitor his progress, just by communicating with him, seeing how he was feeling.

"He gave no indication that he wanted a lesser workload. Just we wanted to make sure that we got Toby some snaps, and then when the game got the way it did, it's just the numbers weren't there for him."

Peterson had only 26 yards on six carries when he left the Vikings' loss to Oakland on Nov. 20 in the first quarter after injuring his ankle. His season-low for carries in a full game had been 12 in a 39-10 loss on Oct. 16 at Chicago.

"I think it felt pretty good," Peterson said of his first game back. "Obviously, I knew (the ankle) was going to get twisted up at times but overall it felt pretty good."

Peterson did get upset at one point with Jabari Greer when it appeared the Saints cornerback might have tried to give Peterson's ankle a bit of an extra shot.

"I came into the game kind of expecting that," Peterson said. "Coming back from a high ankle sprain. Guys took their shots with me under the pile (when) I got twisted up and things like that. I felt like it kind of got a little overboard, so I got up and kind of got in his face. Just thank God I was able to keep my composure."

Peterson's long run of the day was a 39-yarder in the second quarter on a play in which he appeared to lack his top-level speed. He was tackled at the Saints 13-yard line by safety Malcolm Jenkins.

"I don't think I was at full speed," he said. "I don't feel like I was running slow either. It felt good overall."

Frazier called it a "great run," but agreed Peterson didn't have that extra burst that he normally does when he's completely healthy.

"I think when he gets a little further along, that's going to be a touchdown," Frazier said. "But he gave us a great effort (Sunday). He's a special guy. But more times than not, that's going to be a touchdown with Adrian."

The Vikings did end that drive with a touchdown as Christian Ponder delivered a shovel pass to Toby Gerhart that the running back took 10 yards for a score.

The 60 rushing yards Sunday gives Peterson 6,714 in four-plus seasons with the Vikings. That puts him 104 yards behind Robert Smith's franchise record total of 6,818.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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