EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson is currently on pace for 1,544 yards this season. He has run for more yards through two games than he had last season, when he eventually came within eight yards of Eric Dickerson's single-season record. And yet, Peterson has things to improve.
Twenty-four of his 44 carries this season have gone for two yards or less in the Vikings' first two games. Last season, according to ESPN Stats and Information, Peterson gained two yards or fewer on 141 of his 348 carries, or 40.5 percent of his attempts. This season, 54.5 percent of his attempts have gained two yards or less, and on Wednesday, he agreed with coach Leslie Frazier that he's been too picky this season about turning all of his runs into big gains, rather than hitting the holes that are there.
"I was just able to confirm that I was hesitant on some," Peterson said. "Even though I didn't realize it when I was out there, when I was out there playing I could see on film that I was trying to do too much instead of taking what the defense gave me. So it's something that I was able to look at and really take something from."
It's probably silly to assume Peterson will be able to match last season in most respects, but it is telling that the reigning NFL MVP sees things he needs to correct about his first two games. He could have a tough time finding big chunks of yardage this weekend against the Browns, who have allowed just 119 rushing yards in two games, but both Peterson and Frazier said they feel like the running back is close to breaking out.
"You can kind of get out whack at times, and you've got to be able to evaluate yourself and see how you can improve and get back on track," Peterson said. "So it'll be a pretty easy adjustment for me."
Peterson has become the standard-bearer for recoveries from knee surgery, and he was asked again on Thursday about his impressions of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has struggled in his first two games back from his own knee operation.
"With him, it's going to be week-by-week," Peterson said. "The quarterback position is different. He's not just running the ball. He's back there, going through progressions and trying to find guys and really being on alert. So he'll be OK."
Asked again for his advice to anyone coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Peterson said, "Mentally, just have that confidence that the ligament is strong and trust your body."
"Just life in general, you can kind of mess yourself up in the head thinking too much. You just tag on an injury and coming back, it can really make it hard on yourself. Mentally, just have faith in the work you put in and just (go) out there and play."