The return of Adrian Peterson to the top of the NFL in rushing with 291 yards and two touchdowns in three games may have surprised a few doubters, but Eric Oslund of Viking Update writes that Minnesota's increased use of fullback Zach Line early this season compared to Jerome Felton a year ago is a "little surprising." Oslund wrote:
*In just three games, Line already has half the amount of rushes that Jerome Felton, the Vikings fullback a year ago, had. He also has two more [rushing] touchdowns (Felton didn't record any). *… *Line has recorded 20-plus snaps in the last two games, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater even joked that Turner might have some ulterior motives when it comes to his fullback. *
"Coach Turner made a joke earlier in the week that he had Zach on his fantasy team," Bridgewater said. "It's good to see Zach in the end zone. I'll tell you one thing, he needs to work on that spike if he's going to get in the end zone quite often. Zach, he's a guy who works extremely hard, we're proud of him. He's making huge strides in this offense; he's doing a great job of leading for those backs. When he gets his opportunity to score touchdowns, he's two-for-two right now."
Line's power spike of his first touchdown against the Lions went straight into the air. He temporarily bobbled the ball after his score against the Chargers before sending it down into the turf. It shot across the field horizontally to the San Diego sideline.
"I was trying to get the ball in my hand," Line told Oslund. "Fumbled the spike a little bit, but I finally finished it off – just took a minute."
Greenway's mentor role
Chad Greenway's 91-yard interception return for a touchdown was the fifth longest in team history and amounted to making the most of his playing time, writes Dave Campbell of the Associated Press, noting that Greenway has become "even more of a leader at a position with two rookies and three others who entered the league in 2012, 2013 and 2014."
*The investment of draft picks in 2015 (Eric Kendricks, second round), 2014 (Anthony Barr, first round) and 2013 (Gerald Hodges, fourth round) by the Vikings is all-telling in terms of their future plans at linebacker, making Greenway's presence all the more important. *
*Coach Mike Zimmer said he told an unnamed younger player, presumably one of those aforementioned draft picks, after the game Sunday to keep trying to emulate the way Greenway approaches his profession, prepares for each opponent and handles himself off the field. *
"I said, 'This guy can be a great mentor to you,' " Zimmer said, later adding: "He's always trying to learn. He's eager to be a great football player all of the time. Those are the kind of things that I really respect about him."
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press noted that, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, "it's not even close who has been the NFL's top safety three games into the 2015 season. Smith has a plus-9.4 rating, giving him a whopping lead over Philadelphia's Walter Thurmond, at 5.3."
"I don't think too much about it, especially after three games," Smith said of the ranking. "We've still got a lot of football to play, so I just try to improve on what I'm doing and just try to keep a level head."
*Smith was all over the field with his physical play during Sunday's 31-14 victory over San Diego at TCF Bank Stadium. He had eight tackles, including one for loss, and a pass deflection, and had the best Pro Football Focus ranking among all Vikings at plus-5.2.
On a mission
Starkey Hearing Foundation is teaming up with the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Vikings, the Wilf Family Foundations and The Jewish Federations of North America to provide free hearing aids to people in need on Wednesday, September 30 at Yankee Stadium.
Peter King wrote about the event in his most recent Monday Morning Quarterback column:
I think this is one of the coolest charitable things I've heard about this year — and it's an annual thing: The Starkey Hearing Foundation of Minnesota, which has as its goal the distribution and installation of 175,000 hearing aids worldwide, combined with the Vikings and the Wilf Family Foundations (the Wilfs own the team), the New York Yankees and the Jewish Federations of North America to provide 100 people with free hearing aids Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. This includes an estimated 20 Holocaust survivors. "Being a family [with] Holocaust survivors, this is an extremely important cause," said Vikings vice chairman Lenny Wilf.
Click here to read more about the mission.
Vote for Peterson
Peterson's 126 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries against San Diego has earned him a second consecutive nomination for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week.
Voting is open by clicking here until 2 p.m. (CT) Thursday.
If Peterson is selected, FedEx will donate $2,000 in his name to the Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross.