Peterson Encourages Vikings to Savor Playoff Opportunity

Posted Jan 7, 2016

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson didn’t practice Thursday for the second straight day.

But make no mistake about it, the Vikings running back will be ready to go for Sunday’s noon (CT) kickoff against the Seahawks in the Wild Card round.

“I’m good,” said Peterson, who sat out with a low back injury. “I’m feeling good. I was able to rest the body today. I’ll be ready to roll on Sunday.”

The NFL rushing champion with 1,485 yards, Peterson said his nine-year NFL career has sort of flown by.

The Vikings also made the playoffs three previous seasons (2008, 2009 and 2012), giving Peterson a perspective that annual trips to the postseason can sometimes be fleeting.

Now considered a veteran on the roster, Peterson noted how he’s been harping on his teammates to savor the experience of getting to play past Week 17.

“Coming here in 2007 and making the playoffs [for the first time in 2008] and here we are now, 2016, and here I am now 30,” Peterson said. “I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play, but you know you kind of look back and say, ‘Wow, we really haven’t had too many opportunities.’ … You’re able to see how fast time can go without being able to make it into the postseason.

“So the sense of urgency is definitely there on behalf of [the veterans]. That’s why we’ve been coaching these young guys to be prepared and not take it for granted.”

It will take more than being banged up to keep Peterson from this opportunity.

“It’s the playoffs,” said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. “He’s ready and he’ll be fine.”

Moving the chains: One of Minnesota’s biggest downfalls in its 38-7 loss to the Seahawks on Dec. 6 was that the Vikings lost the third-down battle on both sides of the ball.

Seattle faced second-and-7 or more a total of 14 times and made plays to convert first downs or set up third-and-1s a total of nine times.

The erasing helped the Seahawks convert nine of 13 third downs (69.2 percent) against a defense that entered the game allowing its first 11 opponents a conversion rate of 33.8 percent. The Vikings, meanwhile, were only 2-for-10 on third-down conversions.

Zimmer said his offense doesn’t necessarily need to hit the long ball to keep the chains moving. Instead, he wants quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Co. to be smart and simply take what the Seahawks give them.

"Really, it's runs and completions," he said. "That's really what it's all about. If it's a 6-yard completion, it's a good thing, because now you have a chance to get it to third-and-manageable, and then you have a chance to convert. That is really what it is. Teddy knows that; I've talked to him about it."

Locking Down Lockett: Don’t expect Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer to get much sleep this week.

Not with Seattle’s dangerous return man, rookie Tyler Lockett, arriving in town this weekend.

The first-year player from Kansas State has two kickoff returns for a score this year and another on a punt. Lockett also has 51 catches for 664 yards and six scores.

“Lockett’s a great returner, a Pro Bowl returner,” Priefer said. “I thought he was one the top, if not the top, returners coming out of college last year.

“The thing about him is that he’s not a real big guy but he runs like a big guy. He’s not only quick and has got great vision, but he can break a lot of tackles, too.

“He’s going to keep me up every night this week.”

Lockett made his impact felt right away in Seattle’s Week 13 win, opening the game with a 47-yard kick return.

Preifer said slowing down Lockett will be a priority from the get go.

“They have good schemes and we didn’t do a good job against them the first time,” Priefer said. “We gave up a return to start the game … that was a scheme we had seen before but just didn’t play it right.

“If you give him a seam then he’s going to hit it.”

Weather today vs. Sunday’s forecast: The Vikings practiced outside Thursday with a temperature of 33 degrees Fahrenheit when the session began. Sunday’s forecast is projecting a high temperature of 4 degrees with a low of minus-6.’s Lindsey Young talked to a handful of people, including former Vikings Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant, about what to expect for Sunday’s frigid conditions.

Vikings defensive end Brian Robison quipped that when he was drafted in 2007, he thought Minnesota was akin to Antarctica.

It might feel that way on Sunday.

Injury update: For the Vikings: In addition to Peterson, Kenrick Ellis (ankle) did not participate. Linval Joseph (foot) and Everson Griffen (shoulder) were limited. Adam Thielen (shoulder/lower back) was a full participant.

For the Seahawks: TE Luke Willson (concussion) did not participate. Lockett (hip), DE Michael Bennett (toe), T Russell Okung (calf), G J.R. Sweezy (concussion), CB Jeremy Lane (oblique), DT Jordan Hill (toe), RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) and S Kam Chancellor (pelvis) were listed as full participants.