Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson picked up 1,467 yards of his league-leading 1,485 yards in 15 of his 16 games. The other 18 yards came on eight rushes against the Seahawks during the Vikings’ 38-7 loss Dec. 6. And when he couldn’t pick up yards on rushes, the Vikings tried getting him the ball in open space with short passes. They found him four times — for 6 yards. After three of those catches, Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright was there to bring him down quickly.
The key to stopping Peterson, the Seattle defenders say, will be the same as it was in December: being assignment smart.
“We have to do the same thing, gap accountability,” defensive coordinator Kris Richard said. “Doing our best to get off blocking, doing our best to get him on the ground.”
Asked how the Seahawks stopped Peterson last time, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it was more a matter of Peterson just not getting many opportunities. “We think he’s an incredible football player,” Carroll said. “They know how to give it to him, and they’re going to do that. That was a game that just happens once in a while; that was not an indication of anything that’s going to come.”
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for a scant 14 touchdowns this season, and he managed just 114 yards against Seattle in December. The best way for Minnesota to win then becomes obvious: get a big game from Peterson. The best way for Seattle to prevent that is to stop him again.