Adrian Peterson (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Opening day still means something to the reigning MVP, Adrian Peterson, entering his seventh season. Plus, Kevin Williams wasn't practicing again Thursday and other notes.
Opening day in the NFL still means something to the reigning NFL MVP.
“It’s full of energy, you know, and you’re wired up. I wish we were playing at home. Unfortunately we’re not,” Adrian Peterson said. “But the first game back is going to be exciting for all of us, to be able to go down to Detroit in a divisional game and try to get a ‘W’ under our belt and see where we’re at as a team.”
Peterson will have the opportunity to resume his hunt for the single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards after coming up eight yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record last year.
Despite all of his success in the NFL, the luster of opening day hasn’t been lost on him and he has certainly excelled during Week 1 games in the past. He holds the team’s opening-day record with 180 yards rushing and three touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 13, 2009.
“I’m looking forward to it, man. I’ve been sitting out, obviously, in the preseason. So I’m wired up,” Peterson said. “I’m trying to stay relaxed and not get too excited for this upcoming game and just making sure the preparation is where it needs to be this week and get ready to roll on Sunday.”
His record-setting performance against the Browns in 2009 was preceded by two 103-yard efforts in his first two opening days – against the Atlanta Falcons as a rookie in 2007 and the Green Bay Packers in 2008.
Despite that success, it’s been four years since he eclipsed the 100-yard barrier on opening day.
He has also had his share of success against Sunday’s opponent. In 11 career games against the Lions, Peterson has seven 100-yard efforts and 36 rushes of 10 yards or more.
But, again, explosive runs should be no surprise for him, either. Last year, he led the league with 27 runs of 20 yards or more, which was more than double second-place C.J. Spiller, who had 12. He also nearly doubled Spiller, Jamaal Charles and Doug Martin, who each had five runs of 40 yards or more. Peterson had eight those last year, and has 18 career runs of 50 yards or more, easily the Vikings’ team record.
Of course, Sunday is also the start of Peterson’s first season as the reigning MVP, even if he thinks that title should have been bestowed upon him in previous years.
“To be honest with you, I’ve thought in the past that I was the MVP, and I just didn’t win,” Peterson said. “Winning this year, it feels good, but I still approach it with the same mindset: Come in and work my butt off. I play to be the best, apply it to the game and to life with that mindset, and everything else will work out.”
DT Kevin Williams wasn’t at practice again Thursday, decreasing his chances to play in the opener after suffering a hyperextended knee in the third preseason game.
QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s session because of illness.
The Dallas Cowboys placed former Vikings safety Eric Frampton on injured reserve.
The Carolina Panthers signed Toby Gerhart’s brother, Garth, to their practice squad. Garth is a center that spent the offseason with the Green Bay Packers.
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.