Adrian Peterson has been limited to just two impressive games this year, and each of them resulted in exactly 140 rushing yards and at least one touchdown. One of those games came against the Pittsburgh Steelers back in London, but the other came last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in a game that Peterson helped break open but then watched be taken away by Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ passing offense.
Although Peterson is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, a respectable mark for most NFL running backs, the Minnesota Vikings expect more out of the 28-year-old who nearly broke the single season record for rushing yards just last season. Against the Cowboys last weekend Peterson averaged 5.6 yards per carry, but this weekend against the Washington Redskins he will be going up against the third worst run defense in the league according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).
The Redskins’ defense has already been ravaged by the likes of Matt Forte and James Starks this season, but Peterson could be the one back who does the most damage given how hard he was running last Sunday. Through simply watching tape it has become clear Peterson is running the ball better in recent weeks and has been breaking arm tackles easily once again.
Washington has struggled on the defensive side of the ball all season long in both run defense and pass coverage, and if Christian Ponder can make the same throws against the Redskins as he did against the Cowboys, Peterson might not be the only Viking having a spectacular day. Of course more than Peterson’s running ability and grit affect how successful he is as both the offensive line and quarterback positions play a role in his ability to find space. According to PFF, the right side of the Vikings’ offensive line, which consists of Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco, performed the best of any offensive linemen on Sunday once again, and if this trend continues the Vikings should look to run the ball to the right all day long, especially against the Redskins next weekend.
The fact that Washington runs a 3-4 defensive scheme makes it even more likely Peterson can get to the next level of the defense. The linebacker unit for the Redskins is one with both talent and experience, but if the Vikings can render them useless on Sunday, Peterson could be eying up single game records once again.
The Vikings’ offense looked the best it has all season against the Cowboys last Sunday, and if they can build off their success in practice this week they have the perfect opportunity to breakout against the Redskins and get their second victory of the year.