Adrian Peterson had his worst game of the season this past Sunday, rushing just eight times for 18 yards in a 38-7 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
And he was not happy about it. After the game, Peterson, who leads the league with 1,182 rushing yards, said his team was outplayed and out-coached – and he did not back off those comments when given an opportunity.
How does Peterson, who had 12 touches for 24 yards, call everyone else out when he had as bad of a game as anyone?
“Well, self-awareness has never been Adrian Peterson’s greatest strength,” St. Paul Pioneer Press sports columnist Brian Murphy said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “We’ve known that in town for a long time. The nation discovered that throughout the suspension and the hassles and the blaming everybody over the past year for that whole mess. I give Adrian credit. First of all, he’s the leader of the team. He’s the questioned alpha male in the room, certainly on the offense. We want our athletes to be truthful and honest, and that’s exactly what he was. He was blunt.
“Here’s where Adrian was upset, I think, more than anything,” Murphy continued. “He only had five carries in the first half, the Vikings were only down 14-0, they took over around their own 10- or 15-yard line before the half, and Peterson was on the sideline with the long overcoat as the backups were in. They had some timeouts, they were trying to put a drive together, Bridgewater throws a bad pass, he gets intercepted, two plays later Seattle is the end zone again, it’s 21-0 at halftime again and now you know he’s going be marginalized. They’re not going to be running the ball. That’s where I think he was upset. ‘Why did I only get five carries? Granted, I didn’t give you much, but why am I only getting five carries? Why am I on the sideline for a two-minute drill?’ I think that’s where his questions came in, and I think they were legitimate.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged that Peterson’s comments weren’t off-base, that Peterson should have been more involved against Seattle.
“I think they saw something in Seattle they weren’t ready for in term of stopping the run,” Murphy said. “They quickly abandoned it and tried to go through the air. And right now, Teddy Bridgewater has not proven himself yet to carry that burden to go out and win them a game passing. That could be troubling down the road, but this is who the Vikings are in 2015: run first, defend well, have a quarterback managing the ball. Once they stray out of that line, there’s going to be problems.”
The Vikings (8-4) will look to avoid those problems Thursday night in Arizona, which will be easier said than done. The Cardinals (10-2) have won six straight and seven of eight.