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Adrian Peterson says crown-of-helmet rule is 'OK, protects players'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Adrian Peterson calls it "an OK rule because it protects players." (Getty Images)
The list of folks who loudly voiced their displeasure last month with the league's new crown-of-the-helmet rule is both long and notable. Starting next season, ball-carriers or would-be tacklers will be fined 15 yards for leading with the top of their helmets.

"Absurd," "a joke," it "doesn't make any sense," and the NFL will never "be able to police it" have all been popular sentiments.

The latest to join the chorus: Vikings running back Adrian Peterson -- until he hedged midway through his thought.

“Sooner or later we're going to be playing touch football,” Peterson said during an appearance on KFAN before adding: “That's just the passion in me that said that and then the maturity in me said, you know what, it's an OK rule because it protects players.”

Peterson has been one of the few players to support the rule, though that may have to do with the lack of details regarding the specifics of it. Rams coach and competition committee member Jeff Fisher elaborated last month.

"Let's bring the shoulder back," he said at the time. "We've lost the shoulder in the game. Let's bring it back.” Fisher added that while the play will be a judgment call for officials and isn't reviewable, it won't be "over-officiated."

“The key thing here is you can deliver a blow with shoulder, with face, with hairline," he said. "It's just deliberately striking with the crown, the top of the helmet.”

And while Peterson understands the reason for the change, he thinks the rule favors defenders.

“The one thing I do not like about the rule is they single it out towards running backs,” he said. “From my point of view, when you're looking at the defense and there's 11 guys coming at you. There's so many times that guys have come at me and lowered their helmet not with their facemask facing me. They just lowered their helmet and came in and dived at me, my legs and my knees.”

Browns running back Trent Richardson agrees.

"I know why they did it, but I won't say that I fully agree with it," Richardson said in March. "I'm not saying it's a dumb rule, but the backs are all talking about it and it's kind of hard on us."

Of course, if Richardson had never done this to the Eagles' Kurt Coleman last season we wouldn't even be having this conversation. And for that, he's sorry.

"I feel like I made it bad for all the backs," Richardson said. "I feel like it's my fault. … People keep telling me it's the T-Rich rule. I guess I made history today."

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