Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson visited family members in Houston during the Vikings' bye last week.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress and running back sensation Adrian Peterson, a Texas native, spoke to the Houston media on Wednesday about their upcoming home game against the Texans.
Vikings head coach Brad Childress
(on what makes RB Adrian Peterson such a special back) "He possesses a rare combination of speed and power, as you guys would know down there watching him grow up, and then he's a violent runner. He can get you the hard yards. He can run away from you. I guess the last thing is he's a great, great worker. He comes to work with a smile on his face every day. He's not a diva. He's not a pre-Madonna. He gets right with it. He's a million-mile-an-hour guy, whether we're in a walkthrough or we're practicing."
(on how key RB Adrian Peterson is to the offense but also the rest of the offense around him in trying to be balanced) "Well, as you're starting running back, that's the guy you're handing it to. So when you're talking about balance, you'd like to be able to set up some things with the run, the play-action, not unlike Houston does. Obviously, play-action doesn't have much merit to it if you're not running the football, so we want to be able to do that. And we'll do it either way, whether we've got to throw it or whether we've got to run it."
(on what the Vikings' special teams are trying to do to improve) "Well, I think you have to identify a guy like (WR) Jacoby Jones because he's an explosive returner, whether it's a kickoff return or whether it's a punt return. All of that is driven from our standpoint by kicking the football where we want to kick it and then cover it. Now, I know their exerting their will on that side, but he just has an innate ability to be able to get vertical in the punt return game and you have to account for him. You better get down there."
(on if the Vikings' coverage team is where he wants them and if they have improved over the past few weeks) "I think they have. We've still got a ways to go. All of the stuff that has happened to us here in the first seven games is correctable stuff. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting looking out my window at a punter kicking the ball right now. So I think we'll get better and better."
(on if the Texans look different to him now than they did back in September) "They do. I think they're playing with a great deal of confidence right now, I would say on both sides of the football and the special teams. I see them having fun. I see them celebrating together. They look like they're in a little bit of a groove in both the run and the pass. That's a good feeling when you're coaching on the offensive side, I know, to be able to have a rhythm and run it, throw it, bootleg it, whatever you want to do."
(on how difficult it is to get the offense to stay in a rhythm on the road) "Well, it's difficult, period, in the NFL. They don't say 'Any given Sunday' for any reason. Anybody beats anybody else, and all you've got to do is turn it over once or twice and you're playing the game left-handed, whether it's home or away. Rhythm is huge and getting first downs is huge and then being able to explode and have an explosive play or two, which they're (Texans) doing a good job with, is huge, too, because it's hard to drive the ball 14 plays."
(on QB Matt Schaub) "You know what? I think Matt looks extremely comfortable in there. Obviously, you would think that in year two. He came from a version of the offense in Atlanta, but there are always nuances that people add, as all the West Coast people will tell you. But he just looks comfortable. I did him coming out when I was in Philadelphia and he was in a similar offense. He has a good touch and is able to move around in the pocket and is throwing for a high percentage. As I look at their quarterback's numbers, they're all in the 60-plus category."
(on how critical Vikings DTs Pat Williams and Kevin Williams are to their defense) "Well, they're good players. I think when you say Pro Bowl players, that speaks volumes. So, good players and they have been for awhile."
(on what he sees from WR Andre Johnson) "I see growth and I see a healthy guy. That's probably the biggest thing. Just learning that system, different from Matt Schaub who is coming into a system that he kind of has some familiarity with, (He) understands the concepts. It's completely different for Andre who is in, I believe, a form of the three-digit system. I just see him being comfortable. They're displacing him, they're moving him around, which tells me he's spending time in his playbook. And he knows how to be moved around. It's kind of like a 'Where's Waldo' type of deal. And then I see him making plays both up the field and then with the catch and run part of it."
(on why defenses haven't been able to stop WR Andre Johnson) "Well, he's pretty good. It's not that they are not cognitive of that fact, but he's (QB Matt Schaub) spreading the ball around enough to his tight ends and his running backs and the other wideouts where it's just not a sole source type of deal. It's not just the only guy they have to go to. If he's covered, you see Matt do a nice job of going through his progressions. They know where he's at, believe me."
(on if there is one area that has hurt the Vikings more than anything else this year) "Yeah, I would say two things. I would say untimely penalties and obviously turnovers, which is the number one statistic in football. Take care of the football and you have a chance to be in every game that you're in. We need to do a better job of that."
(on how you correct the turnover problem) "You have to address it. I don't think you stick your head in the sand and say, 'Hey, we're fine.' I mean, we are what our record says we are at 3-4. As I go through the numbers and we look at them every week, we're kind of taking a mid-year inventory, and those turnovers have been crucial. You have to address them and you have to talk about them. Everybody that touches the football has to treat it like a sack of gold. It's what we're all fighting over."
(on if the penalties are careless penalties or a result of being too aggressive) "I don't mind the aggressive penalties, but the pre-snap penalties are the ones that bother you. And while there's not a ton that fit in that category, there's enough where, at the right time, a lapse in concentration is the cause of something like that. I think you guys have 23 or 25 penalties. We have 49, and that's something that we need to solve in the second half (of the season)."
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson(on if the bye week came at a needed time) "Oh, yeah. It came at a needed time. I had time to relax, let my body refresh, and headed back to Houston. I really feel like I'm about to be getting a lot of Houston, but it feels good, though."
(on how was Houston this past week for him) "It was good. I had a good time. I got to go visit my family. It was just relaxing not thinking about any football at all. It always feels good when you get away after playing seven games, let your body rest and be around family."
(on what his focus was going into this season) "Just really to come in and just knowing that we've got nine games left. So, starting this nine-week stretch and just starting it off right, taking it one week at a time and really focusing and being detailed with everything. I'm talking about every single day in practice, just to be able to come out and execute when it's time to play because as a team when we look back at some of our losses, it's really a lot of things that we've done to beat ourselves, the Vikings basically beating the Vikings. (We're) just focused on executing all of those things and going out with our best game plan and playing solid football as a unit and stop killing ourselves and see how things turn out."
(on how much of his family is still in Houston) "My mother is down and my brothers and sisters. I've got a couple of cousins that are down in Houston going to school and aunts and uncles that live in Houston, so I've got a lot of family out there."
(on what part of town they live in) "They're spread out in Houston. My mom, she lives out toward the Woodlands in the Spring area. They're just scattered around Houston and the outskirts, also."
(on how much he gets beat up being the feature back and having a lot of carries each week) "You get pretty beat up, but it really doesn't really play a big role. Really, if it's not anything significant, it doesn't really keep you out. So just as long as you get the massages and get in the cold tub and take care of your body, you should be alright."
(on the biggest jump in a certain area from last year to this year) "I would say probably just becoming a better runner and giving in to the system of being more patient, being more patient and letting things develop for me. It was hard, because I really found myself at the beginning of this year being impatient, also. So it's something I'm continuing to work on, but I see the steps I've made and how far along I am and also, just in pass protection, just really knowing all of the calls and not being out there during a game thinking. So when I'm out there now, whatever the call is and whatever the defense is in front of me, I'm not thinking about anything. So I'm able to play fast."
(on what he sees from the Texans' defense, especially the defensive line) "Oh, man. That front seven is amazing. (DE) Mario Williams, he's doing a great job of pressuring the quarterback and leading that defense, in my opinion. They've got some other guys, (DT) Amobi Okoye, a good friend of mine, he's in there doing a good job and the linebackers, they're all doing a good job of playing some solid defense. So I know they're going to come in – they've won three in a row and they come in focused and I know it's going to be a pretty good game and (we're) just going to have to come prepared to play."
(on if the Texans' defense reminds him of anyone the Vikings have played this season) "Not really. I really can't compare them to anyone."
(on how confident the Vikings' offense is) "Oh, man, we're very confident. Coming off the last game, even with the loss, there were still some valuable things to take from that game. We were able to move the ball on a solid defense. I really feel that the offense, you know you have a good offense – we knew that coming into the season. But when you go out there and put 41 points up, you really see how things are starting to click and if you do things right and execute, (avoid) all the turnovers and penalties and things like that, you can be a pretty good offense. I know a lot of guys during the break had time to let that sink in, offensively, let that sink in and really put more confidence. Maybe get some guys who were kind of, 'I don't know,' because we had a hard time scoring early in the season. But having games like this really builds the confidence as players. So I really feel like that's what we took away from that game. I feel like we're going to continue on with this stretch we've got into the second half."
(on if they are having the type of season he wants right now) "To be honest, and it's not about individual stats or anything like that with me, but I really don't feel like I have performed well in the first half, especially watching the film. I really haven't played my best ball this year, at all. I would say, if anything, the best game I've had was against Chicago. I really see a lot of things I was doing differently in that game that I'm going to take on to the second half. I just look forward to doing better the second half, which I am going to do. I'm just going to help my team any way I can."
(on how frustrating the Chicago game was scoring 41 points and still losing) "It was frustrating. It was. But you just have to look at it and take the positive from it. You look at it, we scored 41 points and still lost by seven and we still had a chance to win the game at the end. On top of that, we had six turnovers, two of them on special teams that caused touchdowns. So if you're still in a game and you still have the opportunity to win, with turnovers like that, it's easy to take something from that. It's not easy as far as that loss, but you can look at that and take a lot of positives from that."
(on the Vikings beating themselves in the Chicago game) "Yeah, six turnovers. I think in the future, you know, Chicago came out, they played a good game. They executed. They did a good job on special teams, turning those two special teams errors into touchdowns and capitalizing on some turnovers. It's easy to say that if you take away those turnovers, then it's a different ballgame. But those are the things that we have to take away from the game. We have to start being ourselves."
(on Vikings head coach Brad Childress saying turnovers and penalties have been killing them this year) "Yeah, it's exactly like I said earlier. The Vikings have been beating the Vikings. It's like, enough is enough. You lose some games and say, 'This is what we did to beat ourselves.' It was nothing that they did or they presented that really hurt us. We really hurt ourselves. It's like, OK, enough is enough. It's time to take away the dumb penalties, the dumb things that we can take, that we can change. We have to come out playing smart football, protecting the ball and go out there and show everybody what the Vikings are really about."
(on how close does he feel he is to having another big game like the one last year) "I really feel like any week it's a possibility. With the guys I have up in front of me, you know, (C) Matt Birk and (G) Steve Hutchinson. (T) Bryant McKinnie, (T) Ryan Cook. (G) Anthony Herrera, those guys. And out wide, the receivers, how dedicated they are to block when a run play is called, it can happen any week. I don't go into the game looking for it. I just go out and it comes to me. Just let it happen."
(on RB Steve Slaton) "He's a great talent. I watched him when he was at West Virginia. Unfortunately, he beat my Sooners. He's a guy I've been watching that has tremendous speed, good vision. He can make some cuts on a dime that really are impressive. I think he's doing a good job and as he gets a better feel for the game, I think he'll become one of those key players in the league."
(on who will win the Texas Tech vs. Texas game this weekend) "It's hard to go into Lubbock to win. They are both playing some good ball. Texas, you know, is undefeated. Texas Tech is undefeated. I really think it's going to be a high-scoring game. I know Graham Harrell. I've been watching him since high school. He's going to be able to put some points up. So it's going to be tough. I really can't call it, to be honest. I just really can't call it. But it will be a game. I'll be sitting there, watching it every second."