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Adrian Peterson rejuvenating is 'part of the business'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — When Adrian Peterson spoke to media last week, he lamented not putting his "best foot forward" in Week 2.

On Thursday, on the heels of a 75-yard rush and a second straight Vikings win, Peterson discussed the virtues of keeping both feet moving.

The running back said he saw on film that he uncharacteristically stopped his feet a few times, allowing Lions defenders more impactful hits than if he had kept driving.

Peterson did not participate in practice for a second straight day because of hip/finger/ankle injuries that Head Coach Mike Zimmer said are a "couple of nicks" before adding, "He'll be alright. He'll be fine."

"Part of the business," Peterson said. "Everybody gets beat up, and you need days like yesterday to kind of relax and recover, rejuvenate and let it rest."

The Vikings (4-2) will visit the Bears (2-4) at noon (CT) Sunday and seek their first win in Chicago since Peterson's rookie season when he racked up 224 rushing yards, with touchdowns of 73, 67 and 35 yards.

Peterson has faced multiple run blitzes the past two weeks that have caused losses or short gains, but he did break free against the Lions for the fifth-longest run of his career.

"If we don't give him the ball, he can't break long runs," Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner said of staying with the running game. "He was close in that game to breaking four or five different times. We're close to finishing blocks or getting on the right guy and giving him that chance. We knew going into the season, we know where we're at right now six games in that we have a lot of work to do in the offensive line.

"I think we've gotten better, I think in another month we're going to be better than we are right now," Turner continued. "It is very much a work in progress, I think Adrian's done a great job of not getting frustrated because I know he feels it and sees how close he is on a number of plays. It's a matter of just all of us staying with it."

Peterson said he's confident Turner won't be deterred from calling run plays "because he knows my determination, and the guys up front want to establish the run."

The focus that defenses have paid on Peterson has helped Teddy Bridgewater post seven completions of 30 or more yards, including a career-high four at Detroit, in the past two weeks. Bridgewater had 11 total in 12 starts last season without Peterson in the backfield.

Zimmer concurred about staying committed to the run and avoiding too many free shots on the 30-year-old running back.

"We don't want him to take on as many hits, but we want him to run the ball, so there's a fine mixture that we've got to look at," Zimmer said.

'Real' respect

Peterson said he's impressed by Bears running back Matt Forte, whom he likened to NBA MVP Steph Curry because Forte is "smooth with the ball."

"He's good. He does it all, catches the ball well and is good in pass pro," Peterson said. "He's smooth with it. He's been an unsung hero for a long time because he does so much, but real recognizes real."

Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph has played against Forte since they were in college.

"Forte is a very good running back. He's versatile, can catch the ball, run the ball," Joseph said. "He can do power plays, he can do tosses, he can line up at receiver, he's very good in the screens. He's a very good running back and we have to contain him and stop the run. Once we stop the run, it's going to open everything up for everybody."

The next generation

Peterson was untouched on a fourth-and-1 play at Denver and showcased breakaway speed that topped out at 21.89 mph during a 48-yard touchdown run in Week 4, per Next Gen Stats.

The same measurement technology recorded that Stefon Diggs reached 17.90 mph in Denver and revved up to 19.37 mph during a fantastic flying catch for a 36-yard touchdown at Detroit.

Diggs was selected by fans as the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week for Week 6 (against Kansas City) and followed with six catches for 108 yards against the Lions.

Zimmer said Diggs has done a good job of staying grounded despite the attention he's received since Week 4, when he was activated because of an injury to Charles Johnson. Diggs has 19 catches for 324 yards (17.1 per catch).

"He's pretty humble, stays hungry, works hard," Zimmer said. "I tease him a little about it. About every day I tease him, so he's good."

Best in four seasons?

Blair Walsh hit not one but two field goals from 50-plus yards Sunday in Detroit. It was part of a 5-for-5 day on three-point kicks and moved him to 19-for-26 on kicks from 50 or more yards in his four-year career. Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer said Walsh's 53-yarder against the Lions might stand above all others.

"I know they were indoors, but that 53-yard kick he had was probably the best field goal he's had since he's been here," Priefer said. "He drilled it right down the middle – snap was good, hold was good, the protection was outstanding. A lot of people don't understand, it's not just Blair, it's [long snapper] Kevin [McDermott], it's [holder] Jeff [Locke], it's our protection team, our offensive linemen, we've got a defensive lineman in there, we've got a couple tight ends. Our guys have done a nice job all year there."

Zimmer said "I think the ball is coming off his foot a lot better than it was" in the preseason.

Injury reports: For the Vikings, in addition to Peterson, Rhett Ellison (concussion), Sharrif Floyd (knee/ankle) and Justin Trattou (foot) did not participate at Thursday's practice. Audie Cole (finger) was limited. Jarius Wright (concussion), Zach Line (neck), Adam Thielen (ankle) and Tom Johnson (knee) fully participated.

For the Bears, DL Bruce Gaston (illness), LB Shea McClellin (knee) and C Hroniss Grasu (neck) did not participate. T Jermon Bushrod (shoulder), G/T Patrick Omameh (ankle), S Antrel Rolle (ankle) and G Matt Slauson (knee/shoulder) were limited.

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