Vikings running back Adrian Peterson went over 100 rushing yards Sunday for the 45th time out of 110 games played.
The threshold wasn't reached until his final carry, a 9-yard gain that set up Blair Walsh's 36-yard, walk-off winning kick, but Peterson had solid runs throughout the game that pleased him during film review.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press wrote about the retro feel and how Peterson believes keeping his feet moving* *more than he did against Kansas City and at Detroit helped.
"Coming back and watching this film, it's like, 'Wow, that's how you used to run the ball," Peterson said Thursday.
*While looking at film before the Bears game, Peterson noticed he wasn't keeping his feet moving when stacked up at the line of scrimmage. Correcting that, he said, was pivotal to his strong performance. *
"You take away your power by stopping your feet and trying to do too many moves," he explained. "I was able to notice that and fix it and was able to see how I was able to finish through runs, and I appeared more physical because of it."
Peterson will see if that also works Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium against a staunch St. Louis defense. The Rams are ranked sixth in NFL in yards allowed per game (328.1) and are ninth against the run (98.1).
**Help from Harrison Smith's hits?
In a "Six Points" weekly preview of the Vikings game against the Rams, Fox Sports writes that the physicality of Harrison Smith could be quite helpful for Minnesota:
Harrison Smith is emerging as a true star in Minnesota's secondary. He's gaining a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting safeties across the league, so pass-catchers should fear the thought of running routes in his vicinity. His impact should not end there, though. The Vikings should send Smith on some blitzes, too, in an attempt to rattle Rams quarterback Nick Foles, who's completing less than 60 percent of his pass attempts this season. The intimidating defensive back should be utilized all over the field this Sunday.
An above-par sub
Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com took note of the way Tom Johnson has filled in for injured Sharrif Floyd. Prior to Floyd's ankle and knee injuries during his great effort against Kansas City, Johnson would rotate in on third downs and specialize as a rusher in the nickel. Now, he's involved earlier in the series.
"I'm real proud of Tom, he's come a long way in the year and a half he's been here," defensive line coach Andre Patterson said. "He's proved a lot...There's not a fall off between him being out there and [Sharrif] being out there. That's good for us to be able to say that."
Johnson, 31, came to Minnesota as an unheralded free agency addition in spring 2014 under the newly-hired Zimmer and his fresh coaching staff. They signed him to a one-year, veteran minimum contract, or a 'prove-it' deal, and he did just that last season. He admittedly changed his workout and nutrition habits to stay healthy after an injury-marred final season in New Orleans. Under Zimmer, the Vikings consistently rotate defensive linemen, which meant Johnson would get a chance to play even if starters were healthy.
He became an immediate option off the bench, primarily as a pass-rushing specialist, and more than doubled his career sack total last year, just his fourth NFL season as a contributor after he went undrafted in 2006 out of Southern Miss and bounced around other football leagues. He stuck in New Orleans for three seasons (2011-2013) as a rotational nose tackle and end in their 3-4 scheme.
Grading "L.J." at DT
Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune noted that Linval Joseph is ranked sixth among defensive tackles by analytics site Pro Football Focus as part of his weekly look at notable stats. Vensel wrote:
I typically try to avoid the grades from Pro Football Focus because they are subjective. But hey, it's hard to find a stat that reflects how a nose tackle is playing. Joseph has 25 tackles in seven games and has only let a ball-carrier slip out of his grasp once. He has 14 pressures as a pass rusher, too. But still, that doesn't sum up his impact. PFF's graders think highly of his work, and coach Mike Zimmer isn't going to quibble with them on this. They rate Joseph as their sixth-best defensive tackle and second-best against the run.