EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson's most recent first carry of a game against Detroit was a 78-yard touchdown in the Motor City on the Vikings first play of the 2013 season.
His last time playing in front of a home crowd was a 211-yard performance against Chicago in which is longest run was 23 yards (Dec. 1, 2013).
Peterson has waited quite some time to play in front of a home crowd, break loose for a big one or stack yards carry after carry. It remains to be seen what will happen at noon Sunday at the University of Minnesota when the Vikings host the Lions, but maintaining patience on each rush will be helpful.
The 2012 NFL MVP rushed 10 times for 31 yards Monday with a Vikings offensive line that had one player (LT Matt Kalil) in the same place as the 2014 season opener.
"Even when I don't try to get there I get there, so it's being patient with the angles and the offensive line, making sure they're able to get to their, you know, handle their responsibilities in the run play, depending on what run is called," Peterson said. "It's being really patient and then exploding. It comes down to making sure your alignment is right. You're being patient, you're reading it quickly and then you're responding quickly as well."
After allowing 99.8 rushing yards per game in 2013, the Lions led the NFL with a stingy 69.3 allowance last season. In their opener Sunday, however, they surrendered 95 to San Diego.
Detroit has changed both of its defensive tackles, bringing in Haloti Ngata from Baltimore and Tyrunn Walker from New Orleans, but Head Coach Mike Zimmer said "not much" is different in the dynamic of Detroit's defensive line.
"Ngata is a big physical guy like Suh was, and their front tries to get after you every single play if they can," Zimmer said. "It hasn't changed really at all."
Peterson said Detroit is "still a solid defense" without Suh.
"They're not the number one defense just because of him, but he was a big part," Peterson said. "They still have a solid defense up front, good guys coming off the edge. We've got to make sure we keep those guys away from Teddy (Bridgewater). A good set of linebackers. They play good as a unit, so we've got to make sure we come out on fire and are prepared for whatever they bring for us."
Peterson has averaged 104.8 yards per game in 12 contests against the Lions, and the Vikings are 8-4 in those games, including 7-0 when he rushes for 100 or more yards.
Of Peterson's 25 longest plays of his career, 19 have come against 2015 regular season opponents.
Here's a recap of those plays:
Sept. 20 Detroit — 80-yard rushing TD vs. Lions (Sept. 26, 2010) and 61-yard rushing TD (Nov. 11, 2012)
Sept. 27 San Diego — 64 yard rushing TD vs. Chargers (Nov. 4, 2007)
Oct. 25 at Detroit — 78-yard rushing TD at Lions (Sept. 8, 2013)
Nov. 1 at Chicago — 73-yard rushing TD, 67-yard rushing TD and 53-yard kickoff return at Bears (Oct. 14, 2007) and 54-yard rushing TD at Bears (Oct. 19, 2008)
Nov. 8 St. Louis — 82-yard rushing TD and 52-yard rush at Rams (Dec. 16, 2012)
Nov. 22 vs. Green Bay — 55-yard rush and 51-yard kickoff return vs. Packers (Sept. 30, 2007) and54-yard rush vs. Packers (Oct. 23, 2011)
Nov. 29 at Atlanta — 60-yard TD reception vs. Falcons (Sept. 9, 2007)
Dec. 6 Seattle — 74-yard rush at Seahawks (Nov. 4, 2012)
Dec. 20 Chicago — 59-yard rush vs. Bears (Nov. 30, 2008) and 51-yard rush vs. Bears (Dec. 9, 2012)
Dec. 27 New York Giants — 67-yard rushing TD vs. Giants (Dec. 28, 2008)
Jan. 3 at Green Bay — 82-yard rushing TD at Packers (Dec. 2, 2012)
Three quick takes:
1) Zimmer was asked if the Vikings might have Xavier Rhodes shadow Calvin Johnson (the two players in this week's Ticketmaster Hot Matchup), and Zimmer said, "I doubt it. We'll see."
2) As to whether the Vikings might start Andrew Sendejo for a second straight week or Robert Blanton at safety alongside Harrison Smith, Zimmer said, "Haven't decided yet. (The decision is) more of just the feeling."
3) We wrote about Anthony Barr's potential rematch with one Lions rookie running back here, but Detroit has another first-year RB in Eagan native Zach Zenner. After going undrafted out of South Dakota State, Zenner led the Lions during the preseason with 35 carries, 183 yards and both of Detroit's rushing touchdowns.
"He did good," Zimmer said. "He's got some explosiveness to the hole. He's got some physicality to him."
Injuries update: Shamar Stephen (knee) and Jerick McKinnon (ankle) fully participated at practice Thursday. For the Lions: DeAndre Levy (hip) and Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring) and did not participate Thursday. Ngata (shoulder), Golden Tate (quad), Caraun Reid (ankle), Darius Slay (ankle) and Larry Warford (ankle) were limited. Matthew Stafford (upper right arm) and LaAdrian Waddle (elbow) fully participated.