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Updated: October 31st, 2013 7:00pm
Heading home and relatively healthy, Peterson wants to emphasize run

Heading home and relatively healthy, Peterson wants to emphasize run

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson was born in Palestine, TX, so Sunday will be a homecoming for the star running back.

He's given out 62 tickets to the game, he said, which is a lot, but still fewer than the number of tickets he gave when the Vikings played the Houston Texans a season ago.

"I'd be lying to say it didn't mean something," Peterson said Thursday. "Anytime you play at home and play against the Cowboys, the team I grew up watching and liking. My hometown's an hour and change from there.

"It's still another game, but then again, having family there. Dallas is where I lost by brother as well, stayed there for a few years before we moved back to Palestine. So, you know, it's always good to go back there."

Peterson has had 13 or fewer carries in each of the past three weeks. He joked last week that he'd like to get 100 carries a game if it were up to him. But he said Thursday that he's not frustrated by the lack of touches as much as the lack of victories.

"The only thing that would be frustrating about it is we're losing. So you definitely want to get the ball a little more," Peterson said Thursday. "I think the last three games, 13 carries, I don't think that's ever happened in my career. So we'll put the emphasis on the run."

That's nearly identical to what he said a week ago, when Peterson assured that the Vikings would emphasize the running game. Then he carried the ball 13 times for 60 yards in a 44-31 loss to the Packers. It's worth noting that part of that is circumstantial.

Has he felt compelled to deliver a message to the team as one of its veterans?

"I think the message is already out there," Peterson said. "We're 1-6 so the urgency is there. Guys are practicing hard and focusing. It's the vibe. I definitely don't' feel like a couple of years when we were sitting here with only three wins at the end of the season. It's not that type of vibe. Guys are continuing to fight."

Peterson revealed to coaches two weeks ago that he has dealt with hamstring tightness for about six weeks now. But after an MRI showed he didn't have any tears in his hamstring or structural damage in his knee, it gave him confidence that he can continue to let loose. It had been sore and lingered longer than he expected, which he said initially caused him to pull up a little mentally.

He said he's fine now, although the long drives the Packers sustained didn't help.

"Last week, for instance, on the sidelines I'm sitting there with a heating pad just to keep it loose. That worked out well," Peterson said. "But any time you can get going, it can create some drives so obviously that helps with you being loose. Not only me but other guys, too. Guys are sitting down for seven, eight, 10 minutes, you're going to get stiff. I'm just going to stay with the same routine; keep a heat pad on there I'll be ready to roll."

So he's back to relative health now, or so it sounds, needing to average 215 yards per game to reach his stated goal of 2,500 yards.

It remains to be seen, however, if the Vikings will get the All-Pro more than 13 carries per contest as they aspire to emphasize the run.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Adrian Peterson
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