If you were to look back at Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s last game against the New Orleans Saints during the 2009 NFC Championship matchup, it’s easy to say that he had a great game running the ball and finding his way into the endzone with 122 yards on 25 attempts for 3 TDs. But what dampens those numbers is the number 2 – the number of fumbles Peterson had during the overtime loss to the Saints.
Peterson has been adamant in correcting his ball-handling issues over the offseason and during the preseason to a point where he now feels comfortable with his ball placement. He’s mentioned on numerous counts that the biggest correction that needed to be made was keeping the ball high and tight and not using his hand with the ball to keep balanced when being tackled.
Does this correction alone mean that #28 will have a record game tonight? No. But there are a few factors that may be in Peterson’s favor during tonight’s game.
One being that the Saints defense has stated time and time again that they are out to get QB Brett Favre. They showed no mercy for Favre in last season’s matchup and plan on doing more of the same tonight. Sending different blitz packages at Favre could open up some gaping holes for Peterson and we all know what he can do in the open field.
The 2nd dynamic that may lead to a monster game from Peterson is the fact that the Saints LB core is still looking for a balance after losing Scott Fujita to the Cleveland Browns via free agency. This leaves the strong-side LB slot up for grabs between Jo-Lonn Dunbar and 11-year veteran Danny Clark.
Health issues have also been a concern for the Saints LBs. Former Jacksonville Jaguar outside LB Clint Ingram is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and 2nd-year LB Jonathan Casillas is lost for the season with a foot injury.
Nobody knows what the Vikings offensive game plan is for the Saints other than the players and coaches, but it will be interesting to see how they use Peterson in attacking what may be a vulnerable position for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Tags: Adrian Peterson
Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 29 Comments »