It looks like Adrian Peterson is back
At his best, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is a rolling wrecking ball of ball-carrying anger that doesn’t need a whole lot of blocking to get yardage. The Chargers were on the receiving end of Peterson’s finest game, the 296-yard single-game rushing record performance from his rookie season, and on Sunday they were the victim of the first game the real Peterson showed up again in 2015.
In his first two games of this season he had gained a total of 165 yards, but it had taken him 39 carries to do so (4.2 YPC), and he had seemed more hesitant than we are used to seeing, often trying to run to space rather than attack the hole and take on contact. He had forced just two missed tackles and put the ball on the ground twice.
Against the Chargers this week he gained 126 yards on 20 carries (6.3 YPC) as well as scoring his first two touchdowns of the season. He gained 109 of those 126 yards after contact and forced a ridiculous 10 missed tackles in those carries. Peterson has never been the most complete back in the world, and his receiving skills are more a case of being just good enough to get the ball in his hands and let him run again, but he added 58 receiving yards on a couple of receptions out of the backfield to finish the day with 184 yards from scrimmage.
This was his highest-graded performance since he put 211 yards on the Bears in Week 13 of the 2013 season, and may be a sign that the rust has finally been shaken off. For a Vikings team that looks pretty well-rounded through three weeks heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Broncos, that’s a really good sign.