Adrian Peterson Working on Carrying Issues: Fumble No More

Tanner ThomsSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball againsnt the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

You know somebody has a fumbling problem when they make a YouTube video about it.

Don't believe me? Here's the proof.

I'm a huge fan of Adrian Peterson, don't get me wrong. I've admired him ever since his college days with the Oklahoma Sooners.

When the Vikings were on the clock with the seventh pick, I was praying that they would pass on the temptation of drafting a potential franchise quarterback in Brady Quinn.

As it turns out, Quinn is a second-string quarterback in Denver, while Adrian Peterson is a three-time Pro-Bowler, and arguably the best running back in the NFL.

There has always been one problem that has prevented Peterson from being an even better player: fumbling the football.

I can't count the number of times I've yelled at the TV screen because he coughed up the ball yet again. In his three-year career, Peterson has fumbled the ball 20 times, but only 13 have been lost.

Nonetheless, 65 percent of his fumbles are turned over to the other team. These are silly mistakes that can't afford to be made in the crucial points of games.

On Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota had a relatively promising drive going before Adrian was stripped of the ball by Green Bay Packers phenom linebacker Clay Matthews.

This fumble was returned all the way to the house to tie the score at 14-14 with little time remaining in the half.

Had Peterson not fumbled the ball, the Vikings likely would have been able to rest a little easier in the fourth quarter.

Recently, Peterson has been shown carrying the ball the way it's supposed to be carried.

Tiki Barber had the same problem, but it was solved after he worked on it with the Giants running back coaches in the offseason.

Barber fumbled an astonishing 44 times in his first seven seasons before only fumbling nine times in his final three years in the league. He hung up the cleats at the end of the 2006-07 season.

Peterson has worked on several methods to improve his ability to hang onto the ball. Holding the ball closer to the body at the chest area is easily the most effective way of holding onto the pigskin.

If Peterson can go back to the way he held the ball in his rookie season, all would be well. However, he did only have 238 carries that year. In 2009, Peterson carried the ball 314 times.

Sure, a fumble here and there is no big deal. But if you're coughing up the ball multiple times in a game, something needs to change.

His fumbles in the NFC Championship game against the Saints are easily the biggest reasons why the Vikings didn't win the game. Several great drives were stalled because New Orleans knocked the ball out of his hands.

If Peterson can fix this problem for this upcoming season, all will be great in Minneapolis, Minn.

With Brett Favre coming back, great receivers like Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, and Percy Harvin on the roster, and Peterson looking to have a big season, Minnesota will have no troubles in winning their third straight division title.


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