EDEN PRAIRIE — Adrian Peterson rushed for 210 yards at Green Bay the first time. He was, uh, limited to 199 yards for Minnesota in the most recent meeting.
So how much more can this man do? Will the Packers be able to finally stop him with their third try?
That’s an issue for this Saturday at Lambeau Field in a playoff game full of intriguing story lines, when the Vikings and Packers will renew their rivalry in the wild-card round. Peterson carried the Vikings into the postseason with another standout performance in Sunday’s 37-34 victory, even though the Packers continually sent a safety up to the line to crowd his running lanes as if he was on a blitz.
“They were a lot more physical in that game than they had been before,” Vikings fullback Jerome Felton said. “I think they were trying to box everything and keep it in the middle. I just remember thinking, ‘Man, they’re coming downhill.’ But I think we’re just such a physical team that it wears on people. So he didn’t have the 80-yard run, and he still had 200 yards rushing.”
Peterson had an 82-yard touchdown sprint on Dec. 2 during the 23-14 defeat in Green Bay, but his longest run on Sunday was 28 yards.
“I look forward to us having a better performance on defense,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
The Vikings, naturally, were anticipating more adjustments.
“I’m sure they’ll come up with another wrinkle when we play them again,” coach Leslie Frazier said.
One year ago on New Year’s Eve, Peterson was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to tubes and wires with a glazed look on his face, a carton of ice cream clutched in his hand, in the first hours after reconstructive surgery on his left knee. He sent that photo of that scene on Twitter, a stark contrast to the raucous stadium he helped ignite Sunday by spinning around, racing past and running through the Packers.