Adrian Peterson (Rich Gabrielson/Viking Update)
Adrian Peterson has experienced some of his biggest days against the Chicago Bears, but he’s keenly aware that the Bears like to create the turnovers as well. Plus, the Vikings prepare without another cornerback, Percy Harvin remains “out of the building” and a Jenn Sterger/Brett Favre update.
Adrian Peterson said he has enjoyed hearing people talk about his fumbling problems since he hasn’t been credited with a fumble yet.
At this point, those problems appear to be in the past, but he has another test to pass this Sunday in Chicago. Through eight games, Peterson is credited with no fumbles this season (although he admits that a fumbled handoff exchange between him and Brett Favre was his fault), but the Chicago Bears are known for their bad intentions when it comes to stripping the football.
“They’re a great rake-it, strip-it, try-to-punch-it-out team,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said. “You have to be mindful of taking care of the football here because they do a great job of the second guy in the pile trying to take it.”
You don’t have to tell that to Peterson, who had three fumbles against the Chicago Bears last year, losing two of them. He knows that the Bears go for the football more often than some other defenses.
“They are kind of like New Orleans. They’d rather try and strip the ball than tackle first. That can hurt you in the long run. But that’s what those guys do. I’ve seen it on tape,” he said. “I just have to continue doing what I’ve been doing – keep the ball high and tight and taking advantage of those guys stripping the ball instead of going for the tackle.”
Peterson had seven fumbles last year, losing six of them. Both of those statistics led the league among non-quarterbacks. This year, however, his offseason focus seems to have paid off and he’s just about on pace with his franchise-record 1,760 yards rushing in 2008. Through eight games, he has 857 yards rushing.
Another big game against the Chicago Bears could put him ahead of that pace, and there have been plenty of big days against the Bears. In six games against Chicago, he is averaging 5.3 yards a carry and 122 yards a game. He has 11 touchdowns against the Bears.
“I look forward to playing every team, but I love playing at Soldier Field. I don’t know what it is about it. Maybe because Sweetness (Walter Payton) played there and the tradition of the stadium,” Peterson said. “Look forward to that, carry the load if they call my number.”
The Vikings haven’t hesitated to call his number against Chicago. Even in his rookie season, he had 20 carries each time he faced Chicago – including what at the time was a franchise-record 224-yard performance against them. In 2008, he had 22 and 28 carries, and last year he had 25 and 24 carries against them.
Part of the reason, he said, is that the Bears go after the football, meaning they might miss a tackle while trying to create a big play.
“I would say I’ve seen on film this year more than the past three years the guys really emphasizing stripping the ball, tackling the ball and trying to pull it out,” Peterson said. “(Cornerback Charles) Tillman, he has always been that type of guy that goes after the ball, but I think that has rubbed off on the other guys and that’s what they are focusing on.”
STERGER MEETS WITH NFL
Former Jets employee Jenn Sterger and her lawyer met with the NFL today, according to what her manager Phil Reese told the New York Post.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre allegedly sent voice mails and lewd photos to the Sterger, according to a reporter on Deadspin.com, when both were employed by the Jets and the NFL has been seeking to talk with Sterger about that for the last several weeks.
"We can confirm that a meeting took place with the NFL today and we cooperated fully by providing them with substantial materials in our possession," Reese told The Post.
"We now await the NFL's decision."
If the NFL determined that Favre broke the NFL’s personal conduct policy, he could face a fine and/or suspension.
CB Asher Allen (concussion), WR Percy Harvin (migraine) and S Jamarca Sanford (hamsting) all did not practice Thursday after being held out of Wednesday’s practice as well.
“Just under the weather. Saw the doctor again this morning,” Childress said of Harvin. “Whatever you do to make it through those things (migraines).”
Favre (ankle, foot, calf) returned to practice on a limited basis. RT Phil Loadholt (knee) and DT Pat Williams (elbow) were limited as well.
For the Bears, C Olin Kruetz (hamstring) didn't practice for the second straight day and CB Zackary Bowman (foot) was limited for the second straight day.
COOK LIKELY FILL-IN STARTER
Starting right cornerback Asher Allen passed the neurological tests he took recently following the concussion he suffered during Sunday’s game, but he is still a question mark for this Sunday’s game in Chicago.
“He’s struggling a little bit more. He passed with the neurologist. You still have to be able to pass with the exercise test and things like that. … He kind of backed up a little bit today with some of the exercise stuff,” head coach Brad Childress said Thursday.
Childress agreed with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier that rookie Chris Cook would be the likely choice to replace Allen if needed.
“Chris has improved and the more he plays, I think the better he will get, which I’m glad to see he’s getting a little bit healthier,” Frazier said. “He’s still a little bit banged up. He’s still fighting through some things. Then the fact that you combine he’s a rookie also, and right about this time of year some of those rookies begin to hit that rookie wall. You have got to push through that as well. He’s got some things that he’s got to deal with, but we need him. We really need him to continue to progress and I think he’s headed in the right direction.”
Cook has suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in each knee this year, and Childress said he probably won’t be back to full health until after the season.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.