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Week 1 vs. CLE
Rushing: 25 / 180 / 3
Receiving: 1 / 18 / 0 on 1 targets
If it were possible to upgrade the consensus top overall fantasy player in the NFL, we would do it. As Peterson is already the top overall player in our Top 250 forward, we'll mark him as a "hold steady" and heap plenty of praise on him. Peterson started slowly, as the Browns were able to generate some push during the first quarter, but gradually wore the Cleveland defense down. He was effective between the tackles and bouncing runs outside, and showed his usual power running style with a number of broken tackles and strong stiff arms, particularly on a 68 yard touchdown run in which he had multiple Cleveland defenders on their heels and grasping at his jersey as he cruised past them. Peterson came off the field as expected on many passing downs, but did show good hands on a short route that he turned into a 18 yard gain. The only potential area for concern was some inconsistency in short yardage situations. Peterson needed multiple attempts to convert around the goal line and sometimes gave way to other options in short yardage. That's nitpicking at best, though, as the Vikings gave Peterson the ball three straight times inside the three on one series and there's no indication he won't see the majority of their short yardage and goal line calls.
Week 2 vs. DET
Rushing: 15 / 92 / 1
Receiving: 4 / 24 / 0 on 4 targets
Saying that Adrian Peterson is the heart and soul of the Minnesota offense almost seems like a waste of letters. Yet unless you really see the kid in action, you cannot truly appreciate the value that anyone with pick 1.01 in a fantasy draft really has. This kid is the real deal, and you wonder why he doesn't touch the ball on every play. The Vikings opened the game with four consecutive plays to Peterson: two runs and two passes. He's a safety valve when Favre gets into trouble and the go-to guy when they need a big play. Early in the 3rd quarter after the Lions turned over the ball, Peterson took the first play from scrimmage into the pile, bounced back and literally out-ran everyone into the end zone. It broke the backs of the Lions and they never covered. He frequently made people miss and it often took two or three guys to bring him down. He's not afraid to lower he head and take on defensive guys for the extra yards. Early in the 4th quarter he had a great play where he ran up the middle, hit the pile and bounced outside, and ran for a solid six yards. When Anthony Henry went to tackle him, he lowered his shoulders and banged ahead for another two yards rather than go out of bounds. It was classic AD.
Week 3 vs. SF
Rushing: 19 / 85 / 0
Receiving: 2 / 14 / 0 on 2 targets
The 49ers came into the game with the intention to keep Peterson in check. Aside from one running play where Peterson bounced to the outside for a 35 yard gain where he ran away from the defense, the Niners succeeded in their plan. Peterson has several short and medium gains at various points in the game, but was stuffed for a loss almost as often as he had a solid run. He did not have any red-zone opportunities because the Vikings two key scores were from 30 yards out. Peterson was also pulled on the second and long and third and long situations for Chester Taylor, further contributing to his 'average' fantasy performance.
Week 4 vs. GB
Rushing: 25 / 55 / 1
Receiving: 1 / 0 / 0 on 1 targets
Peterson was held in check for the second week in a row. He had a nice run in the first quarter where he was stuffed up the middle, bounced to the outside and almost scored. Aside from that, he was held to minimal gains. The fumble that was returned for a TD was a case where he was gang tackled by four players. When he continued to fight for yards, the defense stood him up and ripped the ball out of his hands. Even Superman has a weakness. Peterson was not involved in the passing game much, and after his TD just before half time, he was quiet for the rest of the game.
Week 5 vs. STL
Rushing: 15 / 69 / 2
Receiving: 2 / 6 / 0 on 2 targets
A 'quiet' game for Peterson as the Vikings were out early and never looked back. Peterson's opening TD was an outside run to the wide side of the field where Peterson beat everyone to the corner. Later in the fourth quarter, he ran hard up the middle, breaking arm tackles and striking the final blow to St. Louis on his last TD. He had solid runs for most of the game, but was pulled on passing downs and missed most of the fourth quarter like Favre as the Vikings were running out the clock.
Week 6 vs. BAL
Rushing: 22 / 143 / 0
Receiving: 4 / 23 / 0 on 6 targets
Despite not reaching the end zone against one of the toughest defenses in the league, Adrian Peterson had a great game. His first carry from scrimmage resulted in a 26 yard run of tackle. Later in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, Peterson came up big again, cutting outside on a delay and outrunning almost the entire defense for a big 58 yard gain that eventually set up Longwell's FG to extend Minnesota's lead to 13 again. He was also more involved in the passing game this time, catching screens and dump offs out in the flat and turning them into medium sized gains. He finished the game with more than 160 yards from scrimmage. He took a bad fall late in the fourth quarter and sat out for a couple plays, but eventually came back in the game and appeared to be fine. He should be 100% for next week.
Week 7 vs. PIT
Rushing: 18 / 69 / 1
Receiving: 4 / 60 / 0 on 4 targets
Peterson had a quiet game against a tough Steeler defense. He was stopped behind the line of scrimmage multiple times, and the defense was too fast and dragged him down from behind on several runs to the outside. He was even stuffed on the goal line multiple times. However, he kept chipping away at the defense and eventually broke a couple longer runs off tackle for big gains. His best play came on a short dump pass where he lowered his shoulders and just ran over DB William Gay for a big 26 yard gain. But the Steelers were tough, and Peterson definitely earned every yard that he ran. Ultimately it wasn't enough and the Vikings lost.
Week 8 vs. GB
Rushing: 25 / 97 / 1
Receiving: 1 / 44 / 0 on 2 targets
Peterson was really bottled up for much of this game. He only scored on fourth down in the first quarter after getting six carries in the red zone, and got most of his yards on three touches - a long run in the second quarter, and a long run and reception in fourth quarter that both seemed to stop any momentum the Packers had built. He showed how he can't be kept down, even when the Minnesota offensive line is not getting a consistent push. With Favre's red zone efficiency and Green Bay's strong performance against the run (on most plays), this level of production was Peterson's floor in this contest. He still has some massive games left in him this year.
Week 10 vs. DET
Rushing: 18 / 133 / 2
Receiving: 2 / 10 / 0 on 3 targets
Peterson tore up the Lions for most of the game. Seven of his 18 carries went for more than six yard, including gains of 22, 27 and 43 yards. He frequently cut back across the middle when the Lions were looking to stop the run, broke containment and blew up in the opposite direction. On his first fumble, Peterson fumbled a pitch to Percy Harvin on a reverse and the Lions recovered the ball. On the second fumble, he was caught from behind on a big break-away and the ball was punched out, rolled into the end zone and the Lions recovered it for a touchback. Without that, Peterson was well on his way to his third TD. Peterson gave way to Chester Taylor in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand, and the Vikings were just trying to run out the clock. He finished with almost 150 yards from scrimmage and 2 TDS.
Week 11 vs. SEA
Rushing: 24 / 82 / 0
Receiving: 4 / 16 / 0 on 5 targets
Peterson was contained for the first three quarters of the game. Despite frequently being tackled for minimal gains or even losses, he played hard and kept fighting on every play. The Vikings used him on passing downs in an attempt to get him untracked, but the Seahawks keyed on him the entire game. To counter this, the Vikings began to split him out, running with Chester Taylor to the opposite side of the field. It was successful once and stuffed the second time. Peterson would probably have torn up the exhausted Seattle defense in the fourth quarter, but with the game well in hand, the Vikings turned to Chester Taylor to run out the clock.
Week 12 vs. CHI
Rushing: 25 / 85 / 1
Receiving: 2 / 18 / 0 on 4 targets
Peterson had a quiet game for the Vikings, and was held (relatively) in check by the Chicago defense for most of the game. Despite 25 carries, Peterson only finished with 85 yards and a TD, well below his season average. Peterson faired better on the receiving end of the ball, catching a nice swing pass to start the game for 16 yards and extending his career high reception total to 27. Peterson broke off a sharp 15 yard off-tackle run in the first quarter and had a couple other runs for mid-range gains later in the game. He was untouched on the TD run late in the fourth quarter but was stuffed for no gain the play before. All in all he had an 'adequate' game, but it was his second game of sub-par performance for a guy who went in the top three of every league this season.
Week 13 vs. ARI
Rushing: 13 / 19 / 0
Receiving: 6 / 46 / 0 on 7 targets
Peterson owners should be a bit nervous as this is really the third game in a row that the Peterson has finished well below his 4.5 YPC average this season. He also has only one TD in the last three games, compared with five in the previous three before that. In Arizona, the banged up offensive line couldn't' open any holes for Peterson, and he was frequently hit in the backfield and had to fight just to make it back to the line of scrimmage. He faired a little better in the passing game, taking a couple short check-down passes for medium gains. But the 'big play' explosiveness that makes Peterson so dangerous never really appeared in this game and he finished with his lowest offensive and fantasy output of the season.
Week 14 vs. CIN
Rushing: 26 / 97 / 2
Receiving: 3 / 40 / 0 on 5 targets
The best news for Adrian Peterson was that his offensive line was back at full strength for the start of the game. Peterson seemed to run harder in this game, determined to prove that the 19 yard performance against Arizona last week was simply a fluke. He was patient while searching for an opening, and exploded through the gaps when he saw them. He ran hard on every carry, bouncing to the outside when nothing was up the middle, breaking arm tackles and making defenders miss. On his first rushing TDS, Peterson took his third consecutive goal line carry and dove over the pile into the end zone for the score. On the other, he ran an outside route, moving with his blockers until an opening appeared and then diving through the hole for the score. He was actively involved in the passing game as well, with his best play being a reception in the second quarter when Favre dumped the ball to him over the middle and he blew by everyone to the outside for a big 28 yard gain. Although he didn't finish with 100 yards rushing, he had over 130 yards from scrimmage and set a team record with his 14th and 15th rushing TDS this season.
Week 15 vs. CAR
Rushing: 12 / 35 / 1
Receiving: 3 / 73 / 0 on 4 targets
Peterson owners should be concerned as he is averaging less than 3.2 yards per carry over the last five games. In this one he was completely shut down by the Panthers for most of the game. Aside from gaining 21 yards and a TD on three carries late in the second quarter, and the 63 yard catch and run just before the end of the game, Peterson was a non-factor. He was gang-tackled whenever he touched the ball, and lacked explosion through the holes when he was able to find them. In the end, he finished rewarded fantasy owners who started him with an adequate game. However, Peterson owners should be concerned with his serious downturn in performance over the last five weeks.
Week 16 vs. CHI
Rushing: 24 / 94 / 2
Receiving: 3 / 43 / 0 on 6 targets
Peterson was a force to be reckoned with after a few early losses got him off to a slow start. He was running over would-be tacklers and making 5-7 yard gains look routine when the Bears weren't selling out to stop him. Peterson was running hot all game and didn't slow down in the extra period. His fumble in overtime came on a good strip more than bad ball security by All Day. He was very prominent in the early game plan after some friction between Favre and Childress over Favre audibling out of runs. He kept chewing up yardage in the second half and finished off two drives with easy short TD runs (well, easy for Peterson). Peterson slipped on the Soldier Field surface at least three times or he would have had an even bigger night.
Week 17 vs. NYG
Rushing: 9 / 54 / 1
Receiving: 1 / 1 / 0 on 1 targets
Adrian Peterson was not asked to carry the ball very often against the Giants in Week 17 but he did punch the ball into the end zone in a goal line opportunity without too much effort. Peterson likely would have had much more work if the game was not such a blowout as Minnesota pulled all the starters early in the final quarter. Peterson is not the primary offensive force with Brett Favre throwing the ball so well, but the Vikings do need to have more balance in the postseason so expect Peterson to get more touches in two weeks.
Week 19 vs. DAL
Rushing: 26 / 63 / 0
Receiving: 1 / 19 / 0 on 2 targets
Peterson was a bell-cow against Dallas and despite his inability to break 3 yards per carry, his effect on the Dallas defense was notable. Peterson did not find much room to run against the Cowboys front seven but still managed to power his way for positive yardage on most every carry. Just as importantly, he did not turn the ball over despite running right in to the teeth of the defense on every carry. Peterson's best run came on a carry in the second half to the left-end where he was met at the line by 4 Cowboys defenders. Peterson dug in and pushed his way for a 5 yard gain. Peterson has not been the gamebreaker this season that he was in 2007 and 2008, but his power is certainly felt by defenses, particularly when the Vikings have jumped out to a lead as they did Sunday.
Week 20 vs. NO
Rushing: 25 / 122 / 3
Receiving: 2 / 14 / 0 on 2 targets
Adrian Peterson had a huge game for the Vikings --- both good and bad. Peterson ran for 122 yards and found the end zone three times but he struggled with ball security the entire night against New Orleans, fumbling the ball several times and losing two of them. He was credited with two fumbles lost but it seemed like many more as at one point it felt like the Vikings were about to abandon Peterson and possibly the ground game entirely with so many fumbles by the entire Minnesota squad all night long. Peterson was removed from the game for a stretch in the second half in favor of Chester Taylor, but later after Percy Harvin fumbled a carry and with Brett Favre not feeling well with an ankle injury, Peterson got another shot. He returned and ran hard and angry, picking up a big 28-yard gain which helped the Vikings to get in a position to possibly win the game. Peterson finished with over 100 yards for the first time in over two months but it was not enough to get to the Super Bowl.