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Updated: November 4th, 2012 9:43pm
Adrian Peterson's huge day not enough as Vikings run 'D' caves, too

Adrian Peterson's huge day not enough as Vikings run 'D' caves, too

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks entered Sunday's game with the NFL's fifth-ranked run defense, having allowed only 84.9 yards per game.

Adrian Peterson nearly exceeded that on the opening series.

Peterson stiff-armed and juked his way to a 74-yard run to the Seahawks' 1 on the game's second play, setting the stage for a 182-yard day that went for naught in a 30-20 loss.

"The outside opened up and I had one guy to beat," Peterson said. "I was just able to get a good stiff-arm, stay balanced and take it almost to the house."

Peterson punched in a 1-yard touchdown on second-and-goal to put the Vikings on the scoreboard first. He also had a 5-yard run on the drive and went over the 100-yard mark early in the second quarter, when he scored again from 4 yards out.

Six of his 17 carries (10.7 average) were "explosive" gains of 74, 16, 24, 15, 28 and 12 yards, respectively. That helped give the Vikings a chance on a day the offense netted only 44 passing yards and Christian Ponder's longest completion went for 14.

"That's something we always talk about, coming out and establishing the running game," Peterson said. "The offensive line did a great job. We've just got to create more big plays offensively as a unit."

The Seahawks did a better job in the second half, with three of Peterson's five carries going for loss or no gain. The others were big gainers, but the Vikings leaned on the pass while trying to play catch-up and exploit persistent eight- and nine-man boxes.

"We were more disciplined in our run gaps," Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said. "Throughout the game, Adrian Peterson would press the line of scrimmage and then jump cut to the backside of the play. So, we made a big emphasis in the second half on just maintaining our gap responsibility and just wait on him. We were patient and it paid off for us."

Less than 11 months removed from left knee reconstruction, Peterson has 967 yards on 168 carries (5.7 average) this season -- tops in the league 43 yards short of his fifth 1,000-yard season. But he's still not willing to say he's 100% back from the injury.

"Not just yet," Peterson said. "But I'm feeling good. My body's getting stronger. I'll let you guys know for sure."

Not much better

The Vikings couldn't stop the run either, with missed tackles a major culprit.

Marshawn Lynch became the fourth 100-yard rusher in the past four games against the Vikings, who gave up 195 yards altogether on 45 Seahawks carries (4.3 average).

That followed a 135-yard performance by Tampa Bay's Doug Martin in another Vikings loss on Oct. 25 at the Metrodome.

"It's embarrassing," end Jared Allen said. "Two weeks in a row, it's absolutely embarrassing. I apologize to our fans and we've got to get this thing fixed."

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier seemed at a loss for words when asked about the run-stopping struggles, which concluded a week in which players received a refresher on their basic run fits and fundamentals were emphasized.

"For them to run for that many yards, we've got to take a look at it and see what we're doing and how we're doing it," Frazier said. "Didn't expect that. Did not expect it. Didn't see that coming."

Coverage breakdowns

While Ponder struggled, Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson was highly efficient, completing 16 of 24 passes (66.7%) for 173 yards, three touchdowns and a 127.3 passer rating.

That included an 11-yard scoring strike to Sidney Rice, who came wide open against linebacker Jasper Brinkley's coverage after Wilson extended the play outside the pocket.

"I think we were in a zone coverage, and when the quarterback moved around, people got out of their zones," Frazier said. "We talked about that during the week, being able to try to contain him. But that's what happens. When he scrambles, he's able to make some plays and he made some plays when he got out of the pocket."

Jefferson's chance

A.J. Jefferson replaced injured Chris Cook as the right cornerback in the base defense -- not rookie Josh Robinson, who remained the third corner in the nickel package.

"Just felt like with (Jefferson's) size and his experience and what we have seen between the two that it was the right thing to do," Frazier said of Jefferson, who started seven games last season in Arizona and joined the Vikings in a cutdown-day trade

"We like Josh. We like what he's been doing in our nickel package, and he'll keep coming along and keep growing. So, we went with the veteran guy in this case."

Golden Tate crossed Jefferson for a 6-yard touchdown along the endline in the first quarter. Jefferson also had an illegal contact penalty in the second and was called for holding on a punt return in the third quarter.

Quick hits

• Re-signed off the practice squad on Saturday, TE Allen Reisner had his first catch of the season for 13 yards in the second quarter.

• RB Matt Asiata saw time as a lead blocker instead of Jerome Felton.

• The Vikings' captains were DT Kevin Williams, CB Antoine Winfield and WR Michael Jenkins.

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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