Vikings Rookie Peterson Welcomes The Heavy Work Load In Backfield

Wednesday, September 26th 2007, 6:17 pm
By: News On 6

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ Adrian Peterson has the typical rookie running back's perspective.

``My body is telling me, 'Bring it on.' I'm feeling good,'' Peterson said.

Through three games, Peterson is seventh in the NFL with 64 carries. That's a pace well beyond the Vikings record of 303 rushing attempts, set last season by Chester Taylor. Peterson has also caught eight passes for 160 yards and has two of Minnesota's three offensive touchdowns.

``He's an unbelievable guy, but he can't keep doing it all,'' quarterback Kelly Holcomb said, reflecting on the team's persistent passing problems. ``He's pretty incredible, watching him, but he can't last like that, either. He can't last getting the ball that many times. ... It's hard in this league to keep doing that. We've got to help him.''

Taylor bruised his hip in the first quarter of the season opener, leaving the bulk of the load for Peterson. Taylor is expected back this week against Green Bay, and if he's not ready by Sunday he'll surely return for the Oct. 14 game at Chicago.

That will reduce the number of times Peterson will touch the ball. But by how much?

``Chester is the starter, and he'll come back and start,'' coach Brad Childress said, adding: ``It's not going to be any different than I had originally intended. But you know the best laid plans sometimes go awry.''

Peterson isn't trying to stir up trouble _ Taylor had 1,200 yards rushing last year _ but this kid with the nickname ``All Day'' welcomes as much work as possible.

``I just prepared myself to come out and contribute in any way,'' Peterson said. ``That's catching the ball and running the ball also. I prepared myself, and I'm ready to take that on.''

In college at Oklahoma, Peterson had 339 carries in 13 games as a freshman, 220 in 11 games as a sophomore and 188 in seven games as a junior, an average of more than 24 attempts. So he's used to being leaned on.

Yet, as the Vikings proved last season with Taylor and so far this fall with Peterson, a running game alone isn't enough. Right now, Peterson is the only guy the Vikings have who could legitimately be considered an offensive threat.

``We've got to step up in the passing game and make plays so they won't have that eighth guy in the box. That will make it a lot easier on the offensive line and Adrian and Chester,'' said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, whose groin injury could force him to watch Holcomb start again this week.

Former Vikings running back Chuck Foreman, who will be added to the team's Ring of Honor during a ceremony on Sunday, played in the 1970s when two-back attacks were rare.

He doesn't get it.

``I have no clue why they have specialized everything in the NFL, because I think there are a lot of players that have the versatility to do a lot of different things,'' Foreman said. ``But that is the game of today. I don't quite agree with how they operate.''

Foreman, the franchise's second all-time leading rusher, has become a Peterson admirer.

``I don't think you have to worry about how many carries he gets. I think you can give him more, personally,'' Foreman said. ``I think he's got a unique ability to make some big things happen, and I think once they get their passing attack in order and kind of give him some options, I think there are some possibilities for this team.''