Adrian Peterson's Bipolar Play

Tommy Torkelson@Tommy_TorkelsonCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 22:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Adrian Peterson is bipolar.

In light of recent evidence (see, Bears-Vikings,  Dec. 28) he has made it absolutely clear there no continuity from one play to the next.

Ball security issues were a concern (as well as his durability) as he came out of Oklahoma and was eventually drafted by the Minnesota Vikings.

He's a dazzling player, but as much of a threat he is to break a long play for a touchdown, the same can be said for his tendency to put the ball on the ground. Peterson has seven fumbles (six lost) in 15 games this season.

The story many had their eye on this offseason for the Minnesota Vikings was the potential of a turnover machine offense, with Peterson's fumbling issues, and newly-acquired quarterback Brett Favre's interception-prone ways. So far, only half of those fears have come to fruition.

Favre, the grizzly 19-year veteran has played with control and resolve the majority of the season, having only seven interceptions all season, compared to his previous career low of 13 in 1992, 1995, and 1996.

The Vikings' need of a consistent run game to keep the pressure off of Favre in the passing game had been a key to success early, especially during their 10-1 start to the season.

Now here's where I start shaking my head and asking anyone with answers the questions I have.

Why hasn't something been done about Peterson's career bug, the fumble?

A coach is responsible to best prepare his players as possible, and to eliminate any issues that are present. However, this issue is not on the coaches. It's mental.

Adrian Peterson in my opinion is very overrated. The production isn't worth the risk of his penchant for turnovers. Some thoughts to consider: His yards per carry average has declined every year he's been in the NFL. He has 19 fumbles in three seasons for the Vikings.

As we all know, nothing kills a drive better than a turnover.

Peterson has killed more than the drive with his most recent fumble though. The Minnesota Vikings are no longer in control of their seed in the playoffs, and with another loss, Minnesota could find itself stumbling into the playoffs as a fourth seed, losing four of its last five.

I have another question, this one is to Adrian Peterson himself.

Other than your name being Adrian Peterson, and the hype you have, why are you a top tier back?

Does Chris Johnson have turnover problems? Michael Turner? Thomas Jones? No, no, and no.

Teams build around a running game for stability. Peterson does not give this to his team. He may very well get his 20-30 carries, 100-125 yards and a touchdown, but the production is so very random, it's nearly impossible to expect anything in particular with him on field.

On a key 3rd down prior to the Vikings tying the Bears at 30-30 in the fourth quarter, Peterson jumped clear across a pile up on the line of scrimmage.

Earlier in the game, he leveled a cornerback and proceeded to run downfield for extra yards after contact.

However, when the pressure is on, and a play was needed oh-so-very-much, Peterson did what everyone knew he was capable of. On a wheel route, Peterson caught what seemed like a turning point sort of play for the Vikings on their second drive in overtime.

Not so fast.

As he turned, Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer did as so many had done before him. He took the ball from "all day". As easy as cutting a hot knife through butter, Hillenmeyer punched out the ball and set up what would be the winning drive for the bears, with possession on the Vikings 39 yard line.

This game is just the most recent of Peterson's "crunch time" struggles.

After two fumbles in a loss to playoff-bound Atlanta in December of 2008, Peterson said this

"I know what I have to do...It's pretty simple. Just be more aware that guys are going to be hitting you until you fall all the way to the ground. Make sure you just hold the ball tight. It's not that big of a deal..."I'm not going to change my mentality at all..Really just be more secure with it. That's it"

Say one thing, do another?

That's how it appears. Since those comments, Peterson has six more fumbles. Oh Adrian, when will you ever change.

The issue with Peterson for which I titled this article "Adrian Peterson's Bipolar Play" is, as I eluded to earlier, his inconsistency and his tendency to hurt his team with unacceptable turnovers. Most tailbacks in the NFL would be benched or limited in their roles, after a nine fumble season.

Maybe he hasn't been benched because he's their best option, a "top tier runner" as Mel Kiper touted him in his draft board discussions. He won't be top tier for long if his fumbling problems continue.

My suggestion for Peterson? Fix your fumbling problem, before your career is shortened because of it.

P.S, who taught you to run with a football like you are in the photo? In and tight. Carry it in and tight, Adrian.


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