VIKINGS: Adrian Peterson 'upset' with lack of carries in team's faltering second halves, dad says
ST. PAUL Adrian Peterson has been diplomatic when discussing his lack of second-half carries this season, but make no mistake about his growing frustration with the offense. The Vikings' star running back is upset that the team abandoned the runn...
Adrian Peterson has been diplomatic when discussing his lack of second-half carries this season, but make no mistake about his growing frustration with the offense.
The Vikings' star running back is upset that the team abandoned the running game in Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to Detroit, his father, Nelson Peterson, said Monday.
After 12 carries for 73 yards in the first half, Peterson carried only five times for five yards in the second half. The Vikings also opted to give the ball to backup Toby Gerhart on a failed fourth-and-1 run early in the fourth quarter that proved to be a key moment in the game.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb attempted 18 second-half passes, despite his 1-for-11 clip on third downs after halftime this season. Peterson played all but one snap in the second half but was relegated to pass blocking most of the time.
"I see the agony on his face," Nelson said of his son. "He was frustrated that they weren't going to him. He wanted to help them win the game. Five carries in the second half? That's 2-1/2 carries per quarter. He thought that, with a 20-0 lead, he was ready to lead them to a victory. He's being a good sport about it, but he's upset."
During the Vikings' second-half struggles -- in which they have been outscored 67-6 -- Peterson has 22 carries for 66 yards and no touchdowns. Peterson's totals through three games are more to his usual standard: 296 yards on 58 carries (5.1-yard average) with three touchdowns.
Peterson never carried the ball more than once on each of the Vikings' three third-quarter drives, all three-and-out series. Runs of 29 and 14 yards were negated by penalties.
"What do you think?" Peterson said Monday when asked if the Vikings need to commit more to the run. "Probably. I don't know. We'll see this weekend (at Kansas City)."
The Vikings signed Peterson to a $100 million contract extension on Sept. 10 in an effort to shape their identity as a run-first team.
Sunday, Peterson was the "league's highest-paid decoy," Nelson said.
"He thought the offense wanted to run the ball and control the clock," he said. "So far, that hasn't been the case."
Coach Leslie Frazier understands Peterson's frustration, saying during Monday's news conference that his staff has "got to revisit" Peterson's small menu of second-half plays.
With the passing game struggling behind McNabb's 58.0 completion percentage, maybe running Peterson on three straight downs gives the Vikings better chances at first downs.
"We don't want, in a close ballgame, for him to only carry the ball five times," Frazier said. "I have to remind myself of this, even if Adrian gets stopped for negative gain or two yards because they've got so many people at the line of scrimmage; he's such a great player that even against eight-man fronts he can still make something happen. You can't ever forget that."
Frazier hasn't personally relayed that message to Peterson, the running back said Monday, but the coach "kind of addressed" the subject to the team in Monday's meetings.
One thing is clear: Peterson wants the ball regardless of how many defenders are in the box trying to stop him.
Peterson said many of his biggest runs have come against eight or nine men in the box, including his 43-yard run in the first half Sunday.
"I've been facing eight-, nine-man fronts since I've been here," Peterson said. "Even when (Brett) Favre was here, I was facing eight- and nine-men fronts. I feel like I've got a lot of confidence in the guys up front that, no matter the situation or point of the game, we'll be able to run the ball."
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