Ever since stepping onto the field as a rookie in 2007, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has shown players, coaches and fans alike how much of an explosive RB he is with blazing speed and brute strength – an uncommon combination of qualities that has separated the All-Pro RB from the rest in the league.
Throughout his first 3 seasons, Peterson was lauded for his superior qualities running the football, but criticized for not being able to block well and pick up different blitz packages during passing situations.
The 4-year veteran has silenced those critics with his improved play during such scenarios so far in the 2010 campaign.
“Outstanding,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell mentioned on Thursday of Peterson’s blitz recognition in last Sunday’s loss to the Packers. “He did a great job of stepping up in there. It’s never been about his willingness to pick it up. There’s just some intricate details on how we’re going to pick them up, where you’re supposed to be looking. Are you looking inside-out, are you looking outside-in?”
With his continued dominance running the football, Peterson’s improvement in the blocking game adds another weapon to an already impressive arsenal of position-specific strengths – and #28 is gaining confidence in that regard.
“I am at that point,” Peterson acknowledged of his comfort level when blocking. “I feel like I have been at that point. It’s all about just having opportunities to go out there and get it done.
“That particular play that you are talking about (Visanthe Shiancoe’s nullified TD against the Packers), we watched in practice and we knew it was going to come. I saw it unfold and was able to make a good pickup. Unfortunately, the touchdown that wasn’t a touchdown but really was a touchdown didn’t count.”
The improvement in blitz recognition will be a must when the Vikings square off against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass. on Sunday. The Patriots defense is known for its fluid formations and unscouted looks. They are labeled as a 3-4 defense, but the Vikings coaching staff is well aware of Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick’s knack for changing his defense to a 4-man front when necessary.
“He schemes the teams that he’s playing against and the offense that he’s playing against, whether it’s protections, whether it’s specific plays that he might try to take away,” Bevell said of Belichick. “We’re prepared for the unscouted looks basically. We talked to our guys about this being a rule week. Whether it’s in protection, whether it’s in assignments, you go by the rules. The rules can always take care of any look that’s an unscouted look.”
If the Vikings are going to get back on the winning track, Peterson’s ability – along with the rest of the Vikings RBs blocking on passing downs – to pick up the blitz will be vital. When examining the matchup between Peterson and the Patriots defense, it could be said that the more complete the Vikings star RB is in the running and blocking games, the more likely a Purple victory will come as a result.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Darrell Bevell
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