For as much as the Minnesota Vikings are in turmoil–from Brett Favre’s injuries and alleged escapade to Brad Childress’ job security to the trade and release of Randy Moss to Bernard Berrian’s self-benching to Sidney Rice’s game status–Adrian Peterson is not among their problems.
Through nine games the talented running back already has tallied 908 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground and has added 281 more on 30 receptions with 1 touchdown through the air.
“He’s such a powerful runner,” said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. “He can turn a 2- and 3-yard run into the 8- and 9-yard run consistently. So you have to do an excellent job of low tackling him and make sure you wrap him up and rally to the football.
“And then on top of that, he has the breakaway speed and the tenacity in his running style to finish runs. Anytime you play against Adrian, your run defense has to bring its A game.”
Even though the Vikings lost to the Packers in Week 7 at Lambeau Field against the Packers, Peterson was still effective while running for 131 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown and adding another 41 yards on 2 receptions.
The good news for the Packers, they should be better equipped to stop Peterson, Toby Gerhart and company than they were three games ago, especially along the defensive line.
“The fact that they had the success running the football here in the first game … we had the injury to Cullen Jenkins there before kickoff too,” said McCarthy. “We’re going to be healthier than we were in that game, but our run defense has to be much better this week.”
Jenkins strained a calf muscle in pre-game warm-ups and didn’t play a single snap, something he never thought could happen to him.
The defensive lineman said, “That’s one of the things you hear stories about other people. ‘Oh, this person got hurt during pre-game warm-ups.’ But you never think that it’s going to happen. It’s definitely a tough one. It’s definitely something that you approach all pre-game warm-ups with a different attitude now.”
In addition to Jenkins, Ryan Pickett aggravated an ankle injury in the first quarter of the Week 7 game against the Vikings and barely played.
Pickett was limited during practice on Wednesday, reportedly going through the the jog through portion, although little else. Both Pickett and McCarthy are optimistic the defensive lineman will practice tomorrow, however, which could signal that he’ll be active on Sunday if he responds well.
Even if he does play, stopping Peterson isn’t going to be easy, according to Pickett.
“You got to get off the block fast with Adrian Peterson, he hits the hole so hard,” said Pickett. “I mean, if you get tied up too long, he’s past you.
“It’s about getting off, getting a good blow on them and throwing them, because if you don’t, you’re going to be trying to arm tackle Adrian Peterson, and that don’t happen. You can’t arm tackle him. So it’s vital that you get off blocks.”
With the services of Jenkins and Pickett in addition to B.J. Raji, Howard Green and C.J. Wilson, stopping Peterson just became a little less problematic.
“If we stop the run and make them one dimensional, we got some of the best players on the outside covering and rushing the passer,” said Pickett. “So it makes the game a lot easier for us once we stop the run.”
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