Vikings finishing self-evaluations

Adrian Peterson (Scott Cunningham/Getty)

Vikings coaches spent much of this week looking at their personnel and deciding if changes needed to be made, as well as looking for ways to maximize their playmakers.

The Vikings gave the players the bye week off while the coaches work through Thursday on evaluating the roster and self-scouting tendencies that might have contributed to the team's disappointing 2-6 start.

Personnel decisions will be made that could result in moves such as starting left cornerback Cedric Griffin being benched and backup offensive lineman Joe Berger getting more starts based on performance and not just injury.

Long-term issues such as the future of suspended cornerback Chris Cook also will be discussed. Releasing the troubled cornerback would be an extremely difficult decision considering he's a promising 24-year-old player who's projected as a cornerstone piece in the team's future.

However, the alleged details in his felony domestic assault charge could cause the team to go beyond the four-game maximum suspension allowed under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Meanwhile, on the field, the Vikings might have found a way to make Adrian Peterson, already a great player, even harder to defend. And that could come in handy considering a scheduling quirk has them returning to face the Packers for the second time in three games. And the meeting is in Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football to boot.

Peterson went into last Sunday's game against the Panthers averaging two catches per game for 18 yards in his career. He came out of the 24-21 win with five catches for a career-high 76 yards and just his third career receiving touchdown.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier attributed the increased production to quarterback Christian Ponder, who was making his second career NFL start.

"We are still doing a lot of the things we were doing earlier in the year," Frazier said. "(Ponder's) execution has really opened up some things in our run game. Just checking the ball down to Adrian yesterday is a good example of it.

"We had not seen a lot of two-high safeties earlier in the season and all of a sudden we were starting to get some, he knows exactly where the football has to go and not force the ball down the field. Adrian ends up with five catches for 76 yards because Christian takes what the defense gives us in that situation and keeps the chains moving. So a lot of the same things we were doing before, we are just executing on all cylinders in certain situations."

In Peterson's first game as a rookie, he caught a swing pass and turned it into a 60-yard touchdown against the Falcons. It seemed like the perfect weapon going forward – getting the ball to Peterson in space when defenses stacked the line of scrimmage. However, Peterson's second career receiving touchdown didn't come until his fourth season.

Peterson leads the NFL in rushing yards (798) and rushing touchdowns (nine), but the Vikings' coaches will be using their down time this week to look for ways to make him a bigger factor in the passing game.

NOTES

  • CB Marcus Sherels could get more opportunities as a kickoff returner after his NFL debut at the position resulted in a game-opening 78-yard return Sunday. The Vikings would love to have Percy Harvin handle the job exclusively. But his badly bruised ribs and his value on offense makes that difficult. RB Lorenzo Booker is the backup kickoff returner, but he missed last week's game because of a concussion.

  • WR Devin Aromashodu leads the team in average yards per reception (21.9). But he still has only seven catches. The bye week will help the Vikings figure out a way to get him more involved in the downfield passing game.

  • TE Visanthe Shiancoe has two touchdown catches, matching last year's total. He had 11 in 2009. He's on pace for 46 receptions, one fewer than he had last season.

  • K Ryan Longwell is in the midst of his worst slump since joining the Vikings in 2006. After making 15 consecutive field goal attempts and going two-plus seasons with only three misses, Longwell has missed three attempts in the past four games. He's missed from 31, 38 and 43 yards.

  • WR Percy Harvin remains second on the team in carries. He has 19, two more than backup RB Toby Gerhart. Harvin, who can run between the tackles or around end, averages 9.6 yards per carry with a 10-yard touchdown that came up the middle.

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