Vikings coach: We're never afraid to give it to No. 28

Jan. 1, 2013

The great thing about having a running back like Adrian Peterson, according to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, is that there’s never a bad time to give him the ball.

Take the Vikings’ final offensive play in Sunday’s 37-34 win over the Packers at the Metrodome that set up Saturday’s playoff rematch as an example. With 24 seconds remaining, the Vikings had the ball at the 37-yard line with the score tied at 34-34. The Packers put nine defenders in the box, yet Peterson still ripped off a 26-yard run to set up the game-winning field goal.

How many teams would have run it there?

“Hey, you can put 11 in the box,” Frazier said this morning in a conference call with reporters who cover the Packers. “I mean we had a second-and-27 (in the third quarter), and he gets 28 yards. So to answer your question, no we’re never afraid to give it to number 28, never afraid to give it to Adrian.”

Peterson’s near historic season — he finished with 2,097 yards rushing, the second-highest total in NFL history — has been an inspiration for the Vikings, who improved from 3-13 last season to 10-6 this year, especially considering he is barely a year removed reconstructive knee surgery.

“I think inspiration is a good word,” Frazier said. “It’s inspirational when you see a player of his magnitude come back and perform and perform at the level he’s performed at, it raises everybody’s level of play. Obviously you have a ton of respect for him prior to his comeback but then witnessing what he’s been able to accomplish, it’s inspirational to his teammates, to anybody that’s a fan of athletes or people in general. Inspiration is a good word.”

Here are some other highlights of Frazier’s conference call:

* On how the Vikings rallied after losing at Lambeau on Dec. 2: “We talked in postgame about what we had seen with our team and how we felt like after that game that we were really coming together. We saw it during the game and even in the pregame, the way the guys were encouraging one another. It was a tough day for us at Lambeau but our players really stuck together during that time like I hadn’t seen before, and I knew that was a good omen going forward and it turned out to be that way. We’re playing more like a team than in any point in our season.”

* On the impact of a dome team playing outdoors in the cold: “Well, talked to them about it’s going to be cold. We know it’s going to be cold. It’s cold here – it’s minus-10 right now. We’re looking forward to the challenge of going to Lambeau and playing in that environment and atmosphere. When you’re in the playoffs, it really doesn’t matter about the place, the climate. All of those things are out the window. It’s just a different season this time of the year.”

* On Antoine Winfield’s status (broken hand): “We’ll know a little bit more as the week goes on, see how he’s feeling. We’re hoping to have him but we’ll see how things go as the week goes on.”

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