EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson said the more carries he gets, the more he believes he can help a Minnesota Vikings offense that has struggled to consistently deliver big plays.
He also knows he has to do more with the carries he does get as the Vikings enter the crucial final stretch of the season.
Peterson leads the NFL in rushing but is coming off of an eight-carry day in a 38-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It was his lowest workload of the season and the third-lowest of his career, and the Vikings were completely overwhelmed without their star running back in the mix.
After the game he raised some eyebrows when he said the team was "outcoached," but Peterson was quick to point out Tuesday that there were at least two plays in the first half that he could have taken for touchdowns had he made the right read.
"I would rather people point that out than things about carries because those are the opportunities that could have changed the game as well," Peterson said.
After the game, Peterson said the Vikings were "outcoached" and the players were "outplayed." He appeared to be frustrated by his lack of touches on an offense that is built around him, and he had good reason to lobby for more.
In the Vikings’ eight victories this season, Peterson has averaged 24.75 carries. In their four defeats, that number plummets to 11.75. He had just five carries in the first half on Sunday as Seattle jumped out to a 21-0 lead that essentially removed the running game from the equation in the second half.
"That’s the mindset of a player that wants to be great," Peterson said. "You want to be able to, when your number is called, to be able to make plays. Of course I would be frustrated when you think about eight carries. But with the game getting away from us, that is what it is."
Coach Mike Zimmer didn’t want to get into any discussions about Peterson being critical of the game plan.
"I don’t really worry about other people’s opinions. I just worry about what I think," Zimmer said.
In Peterson’s view, he didn’t see his comments as an indictment on the coaching staff or a way of passing the blame on to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. He said he was just speaking the truth about a game in which the team failed on every level.
"We are a team. We win together, and we lose together. And we lost together," Peterson said. "We didn’t play well as players and the coaches didn’t coach well."
The Vikings (8-4) visit Arizona (10-2) on Thursday night before finishing the season with home games against the New York Giants and Chicago Bears and a trip to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.
"Yeah, Adrian wants the ball. I understand that," guard Brandon Fusco said. "He’s a heck of a player. He’s probably the best player in this league. He wants the ball in hands to change a game and we want that, too.
"But Norv’s a great coordinator and he’s been around this game for a long time. It’s hard to be a one-dimensional offense and move the ball down the field, knowing the defense knows it’s a pass every play. It’s just tough to make plays."
NOTES: Linebacker Anthony Barr (groin), safety Harrison Smith (knee/hamstring), safety Robert Blanton (knee) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot) did not practice Tuesday and appear to be in serious doubt for the game. … The Vikings placed backup safety Antone Exum (shoulder) on injured reserve, causing a scramble for healthy bodies. Safety Anthony Harris was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster, safety Shaun Prater was signed as a free agent and linebacker Terrance Plummer was signed to the practice squad. Prater played 18 games for the Vikings in 2013-14. … The Vikings also waived defensive end Justin Trattou.