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Updated: December 29th, 2010 12:30am
Notebook: Adrian Peterson makes impact despite another shot on knee

Notebook: Adrian Peterson makes impact despite another shot on knee

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- Adrian Peterson was hurting so badly in Saturday's walkthrough that Leslie Frazier doubted his availability and Peterson doubted his effectiveness.

Then, a snowstorm delayed the Minnesota Vikings' game against the Philadelphia Eagles nearly 48 hours, and Peterson felt markedly better -- only to take a direct hit on his ailing knee on Tuesday's first play from scrimmage.

"When I took that first initial hit, it was like, 'Wow,'" Peterson said. "I was able to imitate everything else during the week, cutting and things like that -- it felt good, but not to get hit on."

Named to a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl an hour before kickoff, Peterson limped off the field, but he returned quickly and ran for 118 yards on 22 carries (5.4 average). His 1-yard touchdown run provided the final points in the Vikings' 24-14 victory with 6 minutes, 43 seconds to go.

"Sunday, I knew I would be able to play -- I didn't know how well I would be able to perform," Peterson said. "But those two days, man, I'm telling you -- they really helped me out a lot. I was able to get more flexibility in the knee and some of the pain went away."

Peterson said he thinks he'll "be all right" but admitted he was in pain after the latest hit, which only exacerbated the injury that has severely limited his practice time the past two weeks.

"We were all concerned as a staff" on Saturday, said Frazier, the Vikings' interim coach. "So, that time -- it allowed him to get a little stronger and a little more confident in the injury, and it definitely benefitted our team and benefitted Adrian."

Finally, a fumble

The only real blemish on Peterson's day was his first fumble of the season.

Replays showed the ball came loose when it hit receiver Bernard Berrian's feet. But Peterson indicated the knee -- bruised along with his thigh in a collision with teammate Tarvaris Jackson on Dec. 13 against the New York Giants -- was a factor in that as well.

"I blame myself, because I was trying to bring myself down, but them guys was aiming for my leg, coming for the knee, so I was just trying to get down on the ground," Peterson said. "I felt they should have challenged it, but I'll be able to look at it on film."

The fumble came on Peterson's 254th carry -- a stark improvement from the past two seasons, when he had 16, plus two more in January's NFC championship game.

However, after not fumbling for 13 games -- he didn't play against Chicago on Dec. 20 -- Peterson said he'd set a goal to complete the season without one.

"I was real hot about that one, especially how it happened," Peterson said. "Normally, I'm not the type of player is ... trying to bring myself down. After that, you could kind of see my attitude change."

Safety Quintin Mikell recovered in good position at the Eagles 41-yard line, but Philadelphia went three-and-out on its ensuing possession.

Rice concussed

Receiver Sidney Rice did not return after suffering a concussion on a hit from cornerback Asante Samuel that drew a 15-yard penalty.

Joe Webb's pass came late as Rice ran a long crossing route from the left side. Samuel, who was in coverage near the far sideline, hit Rice high just after he made the catch.

The penalty gave the Vikings first-and-goal at the Philadelphia 9-yard line, and Webb scrambled 9 yards for a touchdown two plays later. However, the hit also makes Rice a long shot to be ready for Sunday's season finale against the Detroit Lions.

"We'll see how things go in a short week," Frazier said.

Bad break

The Eagles' first touchdown drive continued because of two bizarre occurrences involving officials on third down.

The first came with Philadelphia facing third-and-10 from the 50. An official near the Eagles sideline blew his whistle and ran to the middle of the field to confer with referee Mike Carey, who subsequently announced the Eagles were not requesting a timeout.

Philadelphia coaches could be seen sending in a new play as the Vikings protested and Carey waited for the scoreboard operator to put 10 seconds on the play clock. Michael Vick's ensuing pass fell incomplete, but Vikings cornerback Asher Allen was flagged for pass interference.

Three plays later, Vick hit Jeremy Maclin for a 28-yard gain against safety Husain Abdullah on third-and-15. Frazier tried to challenge, thinking Maclin might not have had controlled the ball in bounds, but the challenge flag got caught up in his headset as he threw it and play continued.

"Reached in my pocket and my hands were so cold I couldn't pull it out," Frazier said.
"I tried to toss it, and it actually went backwards. My baseball days are over, I guess."

Two plays after that, Vick hit tight end Clay Harbor between Abdullah and safety Jamarca Sanford for a 3-yard touchdown.

Health watch

Allen departed with a hip injury in the second half, leaving Frank Walker to finish the game at cornerback.

Backup linebacker Erin Henderson suffered a head injury in the third quarter and did not return.

Fullback Naufahu Tahi suffered an ankle injury.

Quick hits

• Peterson tied the franchise record for career rushing touchdowns. He has 52 in four seasons, tying Bill Brown and Chuck Foreman.

• Facing continued criticism of the snow-related postponement, the Eagles distributed a release before the game titled "Facts and Figures About Sunday's Blizzard." Per the Eagles, 615 people contributed to clean-up at Lincoln Financial Field, from which 1,300 truckloads of snow totaling 2.63 million pounds were removed.

• Sanford made his second NFL start -- and first since Dec. 13, 2009 -- in place of Madieu Williams, who sat out because of a concussion. Sanford was credited with five tackles (four solo) and a sack. He also missed a tackle on Vick's 10-yard touchdown run.

• PK David Akers was well short on a 54-yard field goal attempt just before halftime, keeping the score tied at 7.

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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