RB ADRIAN PETERSON, SEPT. 24, 2008**
(On giving Chris Johnson advice)
Yeah, he was teammates with one of my close friends on the team now, Aundrae Allison. You want to give the young guys some good advice.
(On what he told Chris Johnson)
(On if he gave Chris Johnson any tips)
Yeah, that's one thing from a running back to another running back, you want to give good tips. There are things that you've been through. You know, I've been through my first year and things that can help him out going into his first year.
(On how they met)
Through Aundrae [Allison] actually.
(On if he wishes he hadn't given Chris Johnson advice until after the game Sunday)
No, not at all. Honestly, I'm the type of player that wants to compete against the best. A younger guy, I'm always willing to step in there and give the younger guys advice and see those guys succeed, too. That's what it's all about when it comes down to it. As long as I have myself together and I'm prepared that shouldn't affect anything at all.
(On if it's nice to hear Chris Johnson wants to play like him)
Oh yeah, it feels good. It makes me realize that I'm really making a statement and getting myself out there, having younger guys looking up to me. He definitely has all it takes, [he's a] strong guy, the key ingredient that he does have is speed. I'm sure you guys have seen that displayed before. I think he has the opportunity to be good.
(On why running backs are able to have success so early in their careers)
I don't know. For me, I just came in with the mindset and really worked hard during the offseason. I got my body right, tried to pack on a couple more pounds and really keep my speed. That's one thing I can say, too. It's a game of speed. If you can get a running back that has legitimate speed, you get a guy that's 4.3, 4.37, 4.32, around that range, all they need is a crease and it can be a home run. If you work on the little things coming in, if you have that caliber of a guy coming in with that kind of speed, you work on all the little things. Being in sync with the offensive linemen, putting guys on guys and knowing what you have to do to stay on the field as far as the pass game, you have the opportunity to go out there and make some things happen.
(On what challenges he sees facing Tennessee's run defense)
I see a tough challenge. I will say they have one of the most physical fronts, as far as their down linemen up front, that we would face. It's no surprise that we're both teams that like to run the ball, that's a known, there's no hiding that. It's going to be a Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight out there. For our defense and their defense and vice versa. I'm really looking forward to it because these are the types of games I love. It's no surprise what these guys are bringing, they're good on defense, all around, secondary. So I'm excited.
(On how much the Vikings close win last weekend helps them entering this week)
I would say it's definitely starting to mold us as far as confidence [is concerned]. Losing those first two games, one in Green Bay and having the lead all the way to the fourth quarter and losing against Indianapolis. We always knew what we had offensively and defensively as a team, it was really all about putting it together. We really never did doubt ourselves but when you get that win, you gain that confidence and guys start clicking more. That's what we've gotten done. We know it's still one week after the next. We're going to keep approaching it that way and to be 2-2, you have to go out and win this next game and that's what we plan on doing.
(On what the change from Tavaris Jackson to Gus Frerotte did to the offense)
As an offensive unit, when that switch was made it was kind of shocking to me, first of all. It seemed like a lot of the blame was going to Tavaris, Tavaris, Tavaris. But when I watch film [the problems] were offensively, as a unit. There were things that we could have done better on the offensive line, at the running back group and receivers getting open, things like that. Little things like that. But we were pushed in a corner at 0-2 and I guess [the coaching staff] felt it was best to make a move. [Gus Frerotte] has stepped in and he has done a great job. [It's] the same thing he does at practice and it didn't surprise me and we're going to try and move on from here.
(On how he has seen teams try to defend him)
Putting 12 men in the box.
(On if that opposing defensive approach has changed since last year)
Not really. Those last couple of games of the season last year [we] were seeing more nine men in the box. I'm sure it's what they're going to bring to the table. I watch film and I see how many guys they had in the box against Jacksonville, me and Chester [Taylor] and the running backs group, we can expect the same thing. It's nothing new to us. We know what comes with leading [the league] in rushing last year, we know what comes with that. We just have to prepare ourselves and get ready for another fight.
(On whether he embraces being able to hit the home run or the challenge of facing a tough defense)
To be honest, I look at it from all different angles, knowing that it's not going to come easy, knowing that those guys on the other side of the ball get paid to take care of their job, too. It's never going to be easy. So it's all about executing assignments, doing all the little things correctly and not going out every snap thinking about hitting a home run. That's pretty much how we look at it as a running backs group.
(On if they try to look less predictable about running the ball)
The most important thing is establishing a passing game and making the defense be honest. If they want to bring nine men in the box then we can punish them in the passing game. When they drop that guy back, we might still punish them in the passing game but we'll throw a run in there. That's the benefit of having that passing game to back up that running game.
(On if he thinks the Vikings have improved in the ways they use him as a back)
Oh yeah. It definitely has improved. There's formations where I'm spread out wide or me and Chester [Taylor] might be in there together or we both might be spread out. I really got molded in last year and got my feet wet. Now it's time to take off for the offense.
(On which one of the rookie running backs is this year's Adrian Peterson)
That's pretty tough to say right now but there's a lot guys I like to watch. [Matt] Forte from Chicago, he shows versatility as far as being able to spread out and do things out wide, catch passes, he definitely runs the ball hard. [Darren] McFadden, he's a guy I like to watch too. [He's a] strong guy and has good speed. Guys like that I've been watching, [Chris] Johnson too.
(On if he thinks he gave those backs something to shoot for this year)
Yeah, I hope so. I hope they come in with the mindset, with the standards I set last year, that they want to do better. That they want to go out and do better than I did last year and set that goal high and want to accomplish things like that. Hopefully they have their mindset that way and we'll see if they accomplish it.
(On if he thinks they can match his rookie year performance)
Yeah it's possible. It was possible for me. I came in with the mindset of making a statement, being aware of who I was and working hard. When you work hard and you set your goals, you go out and do the little things within the offense, learn the offense with the pass protection and all the things that will keep you on the field, you should be all right.
(On if he remembers playing against Michael Griffin in the Red River Shootout)
Oh yes. I remember putting a bang on him a couple times, running him over a couple times. That was in college. He's a different player now but I like to joke about that. I threw a couple low blows on him too because he was a victim once or twice during my years at Oklahoma. You watch the film on him and his game has changed and he's a better player now.
(On if he's going to hit Michael Griffin now harder since they're in the NFL)
He better get it by to hit me harder. Everyone knows now I like to deliver the blow so I don't like too many guys getting an easy shot on me. He knows that. I played against him at Texas, he knows the type of player I am so I'm sure he's going to be prepared and ready to play, too.
(On his hamstring)
It feels good.