The Vikings and San Diego Chargers will meet this Sunday to open the 2011 season. And if RB Adrian Peterson plays anything like he did the last time the Vikings and Chargers met, the Vikings will open the season with an upset victory.
It was Week 9 of the 2007 season, Peterson’s rookie campaign, and the Vikings welcomed the Chargers to Minneapolis. But San Diego left that evening probably wishing they had never made the trip. Peterson carried the ball 30 times and set an NFL single-game rushing record by gaining 296 yards, breaking the record set by Jamal Lewis (295 yards for Baltimore). In the 296-yard effort, Peterson scored on runs of 1, 46 and 64 yards and ultimately he guided the Vikings to a 35-17 victory.
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier, then the Defensive Coordinator for the Vikings, was asked on Wednesday what he remembered about that performance.
“Just that second half, the way he just exploded,” Frazier said. “When you look at his numbers in the second half compared to the first half, it’s just mind-boggling that he could raise the level of play to the degree that he did.”
Frazier is right. Peterson gained 253 of those 296 yards in the 2nd half and he scored two of his three TDs that day in the final two quarters as well.
“The long runs, hitting the hole as crisp as he did, it was just a great day,” Frazier said. “But what I remember is what he amassed in the second half. He took over the game, much like what you see basketball players do when they get on a roll and no matter what you do, you can’t stop them. He was the same way; every time he touched it, you felt like something good was going to happen. Just a great day.”
If a guy is going to give you 296 yards on the ground, you can’t be too picky about when in the game most of those yards will be gained. But for this Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the Vikings would benefit if Peterson could get it going on the ground early in the game. The Chargers feature an explosive offense, particularly through the air with QB Philip Rivers at the controls, so if the Vikings can control the clock and set a tempo early, it will help the Vikings defense keep San Diego’s offense at bay.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Leslie Frazier
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