The monsters of the midway were tamed on Sunday by the beast known as All Day aka Adrian Peterson. Adrian carried the Vikings to victory behind a career high 35 carries that went for a hard-earned 211 yards. After the game Adrian professed that he wasn’t tired or hurt, and that he easily could have carried the ball an additional 20 times. The sad thing for the Vikings is that he used this effort in an otherwise meaningless game for the purple. The only stakes left on the line are whether Leslie Frazier is able to maintain his job after the season and what draft position we are slotted for.
Watching Adrian’s press conference and hearing testimony from Jared Allen, Chad Greenway, and John Sullivan in the locker room after the game gave me faith that this team still believes in Frazier. His players continue to play hard for him and seem motivated to win each and every game. They all mostly stay focused on the company line that each contest is important and their only goal is to focus on each individual week’s game and do their best to put themselves in a position for victory. However, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch.
One of these bad apples has been Chris Cook. He was ejected from the game at the tail end of the second quarter. This ejection seemed to ignite the Vikings instead of hindering them. Cook, who has faced injury problems and legal woes in the past, has never seemed to fit in with the Vikings’ way. Frazier had this to say about how the Vikings reacted after his removal from the game, “After that (the ejection), it looks like our guys settled down. We’re playing a lot of different people in the secondary…and they were standing up and they were finding ways to hang in there.” In other words they found a way to win without him. I expect Cook to be saying goodbye to Minnesota shortly after the season to be joined by his fellow bad apple Jerome “Juice” Simpson.
As the season turns and more players are demoted and promoted. I expect the Vikings to continue to be competitive in games, and hopefully rely more on their young players. Rookies Cordarrelle Patterson and Xavier Rhodes are starting to show flashes of the first-round talent they possess. Xavier had arguably his best game of the season, matched up against one of the best wide receivers that the NFL has to offer in Brandon Marshall. He consistently knocked away balls and even stole a for-sure touchdown by a timely hand placed in the right spot. Cordarelle continued to impress by becoming the first rookie in NFL history to rush, catch, and return a touchdown all in one season. I expect great things to continue for both of these rookies, giving the Vikings hope that this season wasn’t a complete loss.
Next week the Vikings travel to Baltimore. Expect more of the Adrian Peterson Show. The Vikings have the will to win, and have embraced their role as spoilers. Adrian Peterson doesn’t have any quit in him and I expect the rest of the team to rally around him and push the Vikings to at least a couple more victories over the next four games. This will consequently hurt their draft status, but I for one believe that the Vikings have the ability to make a great or terrible pick at whatever slot they are granted. So let the wins come, and let the dice fall where they may.