Adrian Peterson Presents Daunting Challenge for Patriots


Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots will head to Minnesota to battle Adrian Peterson and the Vikings on Sunday in a Week 2 showdown. For the Patriots, it’s an opportunity to avenge their disheartening season-opening loss in Miami and prove to the league that it was nothing more than a fluke. The Vikings on the other hand are looking to improve to 2-0. Peterson has to be licking his chops after watching Bill Belichick’s team struggle against the run.

Miami’s feature back, Knowshon Moreno, made minced meat out of New England’s front seven. Moreno rushed for 134 yards on 24 carries. He found paydirt once and played a major role in leading his club to a 33-20 win. Lamar Miller added 59 yards on 11 carries. Both backs had their way as the offensive line manhandled the Patriots run defenders.

Taking nothing away from Moreno and Miller, but Peterson is a whole different animal. He’s a perennial MVP candidate. Since entering the league in 2007, Peterson has rushed over 10,000 yards, averaging exactly five yards a carry. He’s added 86 touchdown runs as well. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows exactly what to expect out of the Oklahoma alum.

More from New England Patriots

“He has good patience as a runner and good burst, good strength and can run away from people. He’s a tough guy, tough guy to handle,” said  Belichick on Tuesday.

Obviously the Patriots are well aware of what they’re going up against, though it remains to be seen whether they can stop it. One would expect another long afternoon based on what their run defense showed against the Dolphins. Peterson and the Viking offense ripped off 34 points in their opener against the St. Louis Rams. They tallied six run plays of 10 yards or more in the win.

Peterson has outstanding vision and runs with tremendous power. It’s difficult to halt his momentum once he hits the seam. With that said,  the Patriots success in stoping him hinges on defensive line penetration. Linebackers and defensive backs will be able combat Peterson before he gets moving if Vince Wilfork and his fellow linemates can create disruptions along the line of scrimmage. It’ll be another beating if Minnesota’s offensive line dominates the point of attack.

“The rushing aspect and avenue they present with Peterson is obviously a huge challenge for us,” said Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

The Patriots also whiffed on several tackle attempts against Miami. A drastic, whole-hearted turnaround must be in order if the Patriots have hopes of limiting Peterson. Minnesota’s franchise cornerstone can singlehandedly run a team out of the building. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork is confident the team can make the necessary adjustments ahead of their date with Peterson.

“It starts with us up front. Any time someone gets almost 200 yards on you, it’s a problem up front. We’ll figure it out. We’ll get better. I have all the confidence in the world that we will,” said Wilfork on Monday.