Peterson will be focal point of Vikings' offense, Steelers defense
The Steelers aren't expecting the Vikings to try anything clever Sunday in London — whether ailing quarterback Christian Ponder plays.
The Vikings are likely to feed the Steelers a steady diet of Adrian Peterson. The reigning league MVP has gotten off to a good start, but he's hoping to find another gear against a defense that has been vulnerable against the run this season.
“We've played some good defenses the past three weeks,” said Peterson, who has averaged 4.1 yards per carry during the Vikings' 0-3 start. “But there have been some missed opportunities.”
Peterson led the league with 2,097 rushing yards in 2012 and took his first carry this season 78 yards for a touchdown against the Lions. He's had other chances, but he's been tripped up with open field ahead of him.
Still, he ranks fifth in rushing with 281 yards. And he's 57 yards ahead of the pace he set last year while threatening Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards.
“He has a never-die mentality,” Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor said. “We have to match his intensity.
“A special guy like Peterson comes along every blue moon. It's the way I feel about Troy (Polamalu). So with a guy like that, why wouldn't you run him?”
Peterson, of course, would prefer to run all day. Besides, he'll face an overworked defense the Titans and Bengals plowed through in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers are looking to minimize Peterson's effectiveness by funneling him toward the seams patrolled by inside linebackers Lawrence Timmons and Kion Wilson. Peterson would rather challenge the boundaries, putting pressure on cornerbacks Taylor and Cortez Allen to contain him.
“We want to come out, get the run game going, get the passing game going and be balanced,” said Peterson, who rushed for 69 yards on 18 carries in a 27-17 Steelers victory in 2009. “It's tough any time you're not balanced as an offense.
“When we're not being efficient in the passing game, we've got to run it. I definitely prefer a more balanced offense because it opens things up for the run and vice versa for the pass. We've got a nice challenge in front of us, and this is an opportunity for us to get back on track and get a win before the bye,” Peterson said. “It would kind of give us something to build off on once we come back from the bye.”
The winless Steelers, too, are searching for momentum. But if Peterson touches the ball 30-35 times, they could be in trouble regardless of Ponder's status.
Ponder was limited in practice Wednesday with a rib injury.
“We're not worried about what they want to do,” defensive tackle Steve McLendon said. “I'm worried only about what we have to do. Our main focus is always to stop the run.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger hurting after big hit
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Steelers notebook: Defense sags in NFL rankings because of struggles against the run
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- Steelers film session: Missed tackles prove costly
- Big Ben’s struggles emblematic of loss
- Steelers’ defense out of sync
- Robinson: There’s no telling when play of aging QBs will fall off
- Heyward confident youthful Steelers defense will improve
- Steelers’ Bell gets bulk of team’s touches