Adrian Peterson slowly seeing the benefits of patience, lead blockers
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still doesn't like running behind a fullback.
But Peterson's patience was rewarded in Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears as he tallied a season-high 211 yards behind a slew of pulling guards, tackles and lead blocks by his fullbacks.
"Earlier in my career [I didn't like it]. I still kind of don't like it now at times," Peterson said. "It all depends on the play call. Sometimes, it's good to have that guy in front of you when it's a run. When you're able to be more patient, let that guy go through and open things up."
Playing through a sore groin, Peterson saw a career-high 35 carries against the Bears and racked up more than 100 yards untouched as he accelerated for gains of 18 and 23 yards without a single Bears defender laying a hand on him. Only 99 of Peterson's 211 yards came after contact, according to Pro Football Focus.
Peterson's longest run of the day went for 23 yards at the end of the first quarter on Sunday. The Vikings motion tight end John Carlson into the backfield with fullback Jerome Felton and the duo lead a combo 1-2 punch blocking scheme for Peterson up the middle. Albeit, the Bears were without both leading tacklers in linebacker Lance Briggs and safety Major Wright, but Peterson played the part of a patient runner as he allows guard Brandon Fusco to kick out the end and follows Carlson's trailing, lead block. The end result: Peterson is untouched before he's forced out of bounds across midfield.
Peterson said he doesn't mind following pulling blockers on sweep plays such as this, where left tackle Matt Kalil and left guard Charlie Johnson both pull around the left edge as receiver Cordarrelle Patterson cracks down on a Bears linebacker. Kalil ultimately trucks over two defensive backs as Peterson romps untouched for 18 yards.
The seven-year veteran's violent running style can thrash through his own blockers in the same fashion Peterson does defenders. But maybe Peterson is starting to come around to the idea of not having to fight through tackles until he's a few yards downfield.
"Based off last week, I wouldn't say it's difficult. I could say for myself, I'm just so quick to shoot the gun sometimes. Plays when you have two pullers or three pullers, you have to be more patient. I haven't had a long time over my career being patient," Peterson said.
"That's why I sometimes don't like the fullback in front of me. So when I work on myself, I start to be more patient. You see last week, Jerome [Felton] is pulling around, [John] Carlson is pulling around and I'm doing my job of being more patient and you can see how effective we're being in the run game."