|RB Adrian Peterson also wants to play special teams. (US Presswire)|
RB Adrian Peterson ran for 199 yards against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, but it came on 34 carries, which is his career high. That might be considered a lot of carries for someone who had reconstructive knee surgery one year ago, but for Peterson it is not enough -- he wants to contribute to special teams.
“AP always asks to be on special teams,” special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “He always asks. He's a football player. Gunner, field goal block, returner--the guy is awesome. I always say yes and then I ask the head coach and he says no. I know what the answer is going to be, I don't even have to ask.”
But it is not like such a thing has never happened. As a rookie in 2007, Peterson returned 16 kicks for an average of 25.8 yards per return, including a long return of 53 yards. The following year the team likely recognized the danger of having their starting running back return kicks and Peterson returned only one kick. But that hasn't stopped his lobbying.
“For the past two years I have been trying to get in on field goal block, come off the edge, you know,” Peterson said.
“It's just going to take one block for them to really be like, ‘OK, you know what, let's take the chance and let you go out there and get it done.' Kickoff return, I wouldn't mind getting back there. I'm in it to win.”
Until this season, the Vikings have limited WR/KR Percy Harvin's kickoff returns because he was such a pivotal part of the offense, and they would bring him in on crucial situations. Since Harvin is now on IR, Priefer was asked if there would ever be a situation in which Peterson would get a shot.
“The last four weeks that idea has popped up in my head but that's as far as it has gone,” Priefer said. “To be quite honest with you, if we had to use him at the end of the game for a big return, we always have the [game plan] cards down there in case we have any subs, so we could show him exactly where the return is supposed to hit and let him do his magic. There's absolutely an opportunity for him to go back there, I would think, in a crucial situation.”
Peterson whole-heartedly agrees:
“I believe in having your best players on the field, especially in critical times,” he said. “You never know what can happen. That's what I would do.”
For more Vikings news and notes, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter @CBSVikings and @joeoberle.