EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson has been dealing with his right hamstring injury for four or five weeks, he said Thursday, but the injury started with a bruise, not a pulled muscle, and the Minnesota Vikings running back said he isn't worried about missing any time.
He carried just 13 times for 28 yards in the Vikings' 23-7 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night, and he got just 10 carries in a blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers the week before that. But Peterson said if the hamstring injury has had any effect on his performance, it's been more about it leading him to doubt himself than anything physical.
"I feel like it was more in my mind. It's strange to say that, but I think I was kind of holding myself back, not being able to stretch out and really run. I think I was kind of hindering myself. Now that I'm able to be more relaxed and got a clearer mind, I think I'll be able to go out there and roll full-speed."
The reigning league MVP carried just five times in the second half Monday night, in a game where quarterback Josh Freeman threw 53 passes. He said after that game the Vikings need to be more physical on offense, and left tackle Matt Kalil said he thinks the holes would be there for Peterson if the Vikings' offensive linemen can hold their blocks a second longer.
But the Vikings also haven't displayed the same patience with their running game that they had last season, when they were often willing to send Peterson into loaded fronts knowing he'd break a big run sooner or later. Peterson said he wasn't sure why the Vikings have been less willing to stick with the run this season, but added he hasn't said anything to the coaching staff about achieving more balance on offense.
"I don't think I had to," he said.