Founded in 2010

News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

49ers face tough chore against Vikings’ Peterson

By Cam Inman, Contra Costa Times –

MINNEAPOLIS — It might have sounded brash, but Adrian Peterson was merely telling the truth when it comes to Sunday’s matchup between his Minnesota Vikings offense and the heralded 49ers defense.

“I don’t think they’ve really played a team that’s committed to running the ball like we’ll be,” Peterson said on a conference call with Bay Area media.

The 49ers (2-0) indeed opened the season by deflating two of the NFL’s most prolific aerial attacks, those led by the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford.

Other elite quarterbacks lurk on the 49ers schedule. The Vikings’ Christian Ponder isn’t considered one of them, at least not yet.

Peterson “is still the backbone of the team,” as former Vikings great Fran Tarkenton wrote in a recent article for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Last Christmas Eve, Peterson’s talents were put on indefinite hold. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Suddenly, the NFL lost its leading rusher over the past six seasons (6,896 yards, 66 touchdowns).

Rather than the full year of recovery most who suffer that injury require, Peterson is two games (and 144 rushing yards) into a remarkable comeback.

“It’s not surprising. You’re talking about one of the great, great athletes in the world,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “And it’s not going to be the normal person coming off an ACL. He’s one of these men who’s in the National Football League, and they have superhuman powers of recovery.”

It could take a superhuman effort to crack arguably the NFL’s most revered run defense.

The 49ers allowed a league-low 77.3 rushing yards per game last season. This season: 63.5 rushing yards per game, which ranks sixth, for now.

Instead of deploying extra defensive backs as they often did the first two games, the 49ers anticipate playing more of their base defense. Remember how inside linebacker Patrick Willis saw sparse action in the opener at Lambeau? He won’t be subbed out against the Vikings.

“We’ll have our hands full,” Peterson said, “and we look forward to the challenge.”

Peterson and Willis were the NFL’s offensive and defensive rookies of the year in 2007, and Peterson contends they should have gone Nos. 1 and 2 in that year’s draft. Instead, they went seventh and 11th, respectively.

Peterson still vividly recalls getting walloped by Willis “on an inside zone play” their rookie season, when the Vikings won 27-7 at Candlestick.

“You can’t cut (past) Patrick Willis. You can’t cut and lower your shoulder,” Peterson said. “Some guys you can get away with it. With this player, it can’t happen.”

Peterson managed only 3 yards on 14 carries in that rookie encounter. His longest run: 4 yards.

Flash forward to last Sunday’s 23-20 loss at Indianapolis. Peterson’s longest gain went for only 6 yards. Hmm, has he lost a step in this recovery process? Willis says no.

“He’s explosive, he runs the ball hard and he seems to find daylight,” Willis said. “When he sees it, he finds it fast.”

Peterson emerged healthy enough to possibly warrant more action against the 49ers, meaning possibly fewer carries for his understudy, Toby Gerhart, a former Stanford star under Harbaugh.

Gerhart said of Harbaugh to the Star Tribune: “He is extremely confident, stirs the pot and gets the best out of his players.”

Although the 49ers and Vikings share an affinity for running the ball in a balanced offense, the 49ers have an old trick up their sleeves: Randy Moss, who’ll play in Minnesota for the first time since he got traded to the Raiders after the 2004 season.

If Moss sparks a victory — and the defense shuts down Peterson — the 49ers will be 3-0 against NFC North opponents. A division sweep isn’t possible until the Chicago Bears visit Candlestick on Monday, Nov. 19.

The 49ers aren’t looking past their visit to Mall of America Field, however.

“You can’t have a letdown, a letup,” Harbaugh said. “. . .There are 16 sprints. We don’t subscribe to the marathon theory.”

For Peterson and the Vikings, facing the 49ers run defense might be as grueling and painful as a 26.2-mile run.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Even more news:

Need help with your website?
Call your local professional,
Breakthrough Web Design:
or go to

Copyright 2022 – Internet Marketing Pros. of Iowa, Inc.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x