Notebook: Peterson has Vikings' top 5 gains

Adrian Peterson (Brian Spurlock/US Presswire)

The Vikings didn't have much go right for them Sunday in Seattle, but Adrian Peterson accounted for the Vikings' top five gains when the deep passing game once again struggled. Stats and reaction on both those fronts, as well as Percy Harvin's frustration, A.J. Jefferson starting, and Allen Reisner being the most productive tight end against Seattle.

Adrian Peterson entered Sunday's game saying that he still believed a 300-yard rushing day was possible in the NFL. In the first half, he appeared to be on pace with 144 yards with five minutes left in the second quarter.

However, as the Seahawks gained lead in the second half of their 30-20 win and Christian Ponder continued to struggle to take advantage of defenses pressuring the running game near the line of scrimmage, Peterson's production fell in the second half, too.

Still, Peterson was about the only thing that went right for the Vikings. He was responsible for all five of the team's top gains in Seattle, rattling off runs of 74, 28, 24, 16 and 15 yards, finishing with 182 yards on 17 carries in the loss.

Adrian Peterson's 74-yard run on the second play from scrimmage is longest run the Seahawks have allowed since 2009.

"Usually when we run as well as we ran the ball today, that's a good sign for our football team all the way around. We weren't able to capitalize on a terrific day for him, just a great day," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "To the run the ball as well as he did against the fifth-ranked (run) defense in our league, to not come away with more as a team, it's disappointing."

Peterson averaged 10.7 yards a carry and rushed for two touchdowns.

His 74-yard run was his 13th career run of 50 yards or more, breaking the franchise record previously held by Robert Smith. He also broke the team's all-time record with his 78th game leading the team in rushing attempts. His 182 rushing yards were fifth-most in franchise history, as he now owns four of the top five marks, including the NFL's single-game record of 296 yards rushing as a rookie in 2007.

Peterson's 144 yards in in the first half also established a team record for most in the first half of a game, and it was the 12th time he's rushed for 100 or more in a half (Robert Smith is second on that list – doing that only two times).

But Peterson had only five rushes for 38 yards in the second half.

"We wanted to (use him more), but we felt like with all the eight– and nine-man boxes we were getting there would be some opportunities in the passing game," Frazier said.

There might have been, but Ponder couldn't take advantage as his recent struggles continued, despite Peterson's production.

"Obviously in the past couple games it's been one-dimensional. But we've seen what the passing game can do early on in the season. We've just got to get back to that," Ponder said.

"… It's tough when Adrian runs for 182 yards and we throw the ball for 40-something yards (44 net). We've got to piggy-back when Adrian has a great game."

Peterson became only the seventh player since the AFL-NFL merger with four games of 180 yards or more rushing and two or more touchdowns.

In the last three games, Peterson has 458 yards rushing, an 8.3-yard average and four touchdowns. He has 957 rushing yards on the season and will easily surpass 1,000 yards on the season before the team's bye if he even approaches his per-game average in the Vikings' Week 10 game against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field next Sunday.


With just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Vikings settled for a field goal and Percy Harvin could be seen voicing his frustration to Frazier on the sideline.

"Just like the rest of our team, he wants to win – frustrated as we all were at that moment," Frazier said. "He's a competitor and we all were frustrated trying to come away with touchdowns instead of field goals."

Ponder had missed Harvin on the final second down of that series on a short bubble-screen attempt and then Ponder was sacked on third down to force Blair Walsh on for a 36-yard field goal.

Harvin was targeted six times in the game but had only two catches for 10 yards and rushed four times for 24 yards.

"I think we're all frustrated in the passing game and obviously we know it can get better," Ponder said. "We have great leadership on this team and Percy is one of those leaders, but we're not going to let it become a problem."


The Vikings attempted four pass deep (more than 15 yards from the line of scrimmage in the air) – three to Harvin and one to Jerome Simpson. The net result: Three incompletions and an interception.

But, once again, all four of those passes were outside the hashmarks – two to the left and two to the right. The Vikings have attempted only four passes deep down the middle this year in nine games – the lowest number in the NFL.

The Seahawks followed a trend of Vikings opponents the last three weeks and brought extra defenders near the line of scrimmage often.

"We felt like with all the eight– and nine-man boxes we were getting there would be some opportunities in the passing game," Frazier said. "We just couldn't exploit what we were getting from the defensive standpoint."

Although Percy Harvin was held to a season-low two catches for a season-low 10 yards, but tight end Kyle Rudolph has also been left out of the passing game even more lately. He has been held without a catch in two of the last three games and has been targeted only eight times in the last three games, including two times each in the last two games.


With Chris Cook sidelined until the end of the regular season with a broken arm, the Vikings started A.J. Jefferson for the first time this year instead of rookie Josh Robison, who had made two previous starts – one in the nickel defense and once in the base defense for Antoine Winfield.

"I just felt like with his size and his experience and what we had seen between the two, it was the right thing to do," Frazier said. "We like Josh, we like what he's been doing in our nickel package and he'll keep coming along, so we went with the veteran guy in this case."

Jefferson was beaten for Seattle's first touchdown on a 6-yard pass to Golden Tate. He was also called for illegal contact and holding.


TE Allen Reisner, promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Saturday, was active for the Vikings and caught a 13-yard pass. It was the only time Reisner has been targeted this year (he played in the first three games of the season), but his 13-yard reception gives him more yardage this season than John Carlson, who has caught three passes for 8 yards but has been inactive for the last two games with a concussion.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board. Recommended Stories