Larrivee says to expect Peterson's best against Packers on Sunday
Adrian Peterson. Photo: Image by TODAY'S TMJ4
To steal a line from my broadcast partner Larry McCarren; “If the Vikings have a good one left in them, they’ll play it Sunday night against the Packers.”
I would add if Adrian Peterson has a big game left in him, and you know he does, he too would deliver it against the archrival Packers in the Metrodome (Sunday night, 5:00 p.m. on 620WTMJ, TODAY'S TMJ4 and NBC26).
Last year, Peterson came within eight yards of tying the all time single season rushing record. He rushed for 2,097 yards, and Eric Dickerson of the Rams holds the record of 2,105 rushing yards set in 1984.
Peterson accounted for seven running plays of 50 yards or more last year, including a career long 82-yard touchdown run at Green Bay in week 13.
He started this season with a 78-yard touchdown run at Detroit in the opener, but explosive plays have been few and far between since.
A 60-yard run in London against the Steelers, a 36 yard run in Chicago vs. the Bears and a 31 yard burst against Carolina two games ago are the only plus-15 yard runs for Peterson this year.
The video reveals that Peterson has been getting hit earlier each play this season as compared to last year.
The offensive line has struggled, and in fact most football people say this unit and several individuals on it have regressed from last year.
Against the Giants on Monday night, Peterson ran the ball just 13 times for 28 yards a 2.2 average with a long gain of eight yards.
On four of those 13 carries, he picked up zero or negative yardage. On five other runs, he gained just 3 yards or less per carry.
Furthermore, the Vikings are struggling at the quarterback position, as the collective 68.0 passer rating posted by a combination of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman would attest.
This allows defenses to commit more players to the box jamming Peterson’s running lanes.
In the past two games, the Vikings have trailed most of the way (Carolina and at Giants) and that impacts his opportunities.
Peterson has carried the ball just 23 times for 90 yards with a long gain of 31 yards and no touchdowns. In the previous four games Peterson averaged 23 rushing attempts per game.
Peterson has had his personal challenges as well.
A minor hamstring injury early in the season (he’s played through it) and most recently the death of his two-year old son has understandably impacted his play on the field.
Peterson has just two 100-yard rushing games this season, but it should be pointed out that between games seven and 16 last year, he ran for 1,598 rushing yards and 10 TDs.
His six game numbers this season are actually better than his first six games of last year. He rushed for 499 yards on 113 carries with two rushing TD's last year at this time.
This season: 511 yards on 115 carries and 5 TD's.
In 12 career games against the Packers, Peterson has rushed for 100+ yards in 7 of those games.
Peterson gained 199 yards in a 37-34 victory over the Packers at the Metrodome week 17 last December.
Including the post-season Peterson hit the Packers for 508 yards an average of 7.6 per play and 169 rushing yards per game.
He was even better in Green Bay with 210 yards including a signature 82-yard run for a touchdown week 13.
Say what you will about the 1-5 Vikings, but if they have a “best game” left in them it will be this week at the Metrodome and the Packers are planning on that type of Minnesota performance Sunday night.