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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Adrian Peterson critiques himself, pinpoints two areas for improvement

By Derek Wetmore

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Adrian Peterson is one of the greatest runners in NFL history. But even in a year in which he won the rushing title one season after returning from a court case that kept him off the field, he acknowledges there’s room for improvement.

Specifically, Peterson is well aware that he’s coughed up costly fumbles in two of the biggest games of his life. Peterson said his top priority this offseason is to improve his ball security. He’s also looking to add to his arsenal so he can be a “better fit” in Minnesota’s offense.

“My mindset is just to come back and be the best you guys have seen just overall and for this organization as well,” Peterson said during locker cleanout day Monday at the Vikings’ practice facility, the sting still fresh from Sunday’s 10-9 loss to Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.

Now, he said, it’s time to go “back to the chalkboard.”

“The first thing that comes to mind is making sure that I put emphasis on protecting the ball. That’s going to be my number one objective going into this offseason,” Peterson said.

“I’ve joked around and said, ‘Yeah I done put the ball on the turf but how many have I lost? There’s guys that have lost more fumbles than me this year.’ But when it comes back and it bites you in this type of way, it’s something I want to put an emphasis on for this offseason.”

Peterson put the ball on the ground twice (really three times) in the NFC Championship game at the end of the 2009 season, and he did so again Sunday, only this time the Vikings lost possession.

The Seahawks scored their first touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter to cut the Vikings’ lead to 9-7. On the second play of the ensuing Vikings drive, Peterson was stripped of the ball by Seattle safety Kam Chancellor, and the Seahawks marched down the field and kicked what turned out to be the winning field goal.

So the 1,485 yards Peterson accumulated during the regular season serve as a nice feather in his cap, but when looking at the whole picture on the team’s season, it’s hard to imagine they’ll erase the memory of the fumble he lost in the fourth quarter of the Vikings’ only playoff game. He said it was a blessing to return and have some success, but was quick to say that it’s “unfulfilled” because the Vikings didn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs.

Peterson also saw Jerick McKinnon’s role with the Vikings expand as the season progressed. One year after taking over for Peterson as a rookie, McKinnon was not as heavily involved in the big picture, but he did showcase an ability to line up and catch passes as a receiver or out of the backfield.

When Peterson said he’d like to be a “better fit” and be more versatile within Minnesota’s offense, it was in direct reference to McKinnon.

“You look at the young guys [like] Jerick, he comes in a lot on third down and he presents a different piece to our offense, running routes and things like that. I envision myself doing things like that at a different level so that’s what I mean by being more involved and being more diverse when it comes to the offense we have,” Peterson said.

The post Adrian Peterson critiques himself, pinpoints two areas for improvement appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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