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Adrian Peterson vs. Falcons – 29 carries, 158 yards, 2 TDs

Adrian Peterson has regained his old form recently after missing the 2014 season, and that was on display in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons. Peterson carried the ball 28 times and helped the Minnesota offense hold the ball for over 33 minutes. Peterson picked up 11 first downs in the 20-10 win, single-handedly carrying the Vikings offense once again towards the playoffs. Peterson runs violently, with agility and power to power through defenders and help carry his team to victory. He has an uncanny knack to cut back and find a hole, maybe even where the play wasn’t even designed. Check out the tape to catch Peterson and the Vikings gain a huge victory on the road in Atlanta.


Play 1: 1st & 10. -20. 15:00 1st.

Offensive Personnel: 12 Personnel

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With a two TE formation, the strong side of the formation is set to the boundary (close) side of the field. When the ball is snapped, the right side of the Vikings offensive line immediately blocks down to wall down Atlanta’s inside moving defenders. With the lineman washing down the left side of the Falcons defensive line, it leaves Peterson and the Falcons CB one-on-one. It is up for Peterson to win this battle. He bursts through the hole bouncing off a defender and then dragging another for 11 yards on the first play of the game, setting the tone for the rest of the game to come.


Play 2: 1st & 10. -21. 3:28 1st.

Offensive Personnel: 12 Personnel (WR tight)

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This play is designed as a dive play, with the Center and Right Guard double the Falcons Nose Tackle. As Peterson approaches the line, the Falcons weak side LB fills the hole the play has designed. Peterson recognizes that the WR and TE have sealed off the defenders to his right, he makes a sharp jump cut and slices through the hole. The vision and suddenness on display for this 10 yard run is what makes Peterson elite.


Play 3: 1st & 10. -25. 5:31 2nd.

Offensive Personnel: 12 Personnel (WR tight)

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On this play, the Vikings pitch the ball to Peterson in hopes to get him in space and let him use his vision to find the open lane. Once he catches the ball, Peterson notices that the Falcons left side has defeated their blocks and held the edge of the defense well. Peterson cuts back in hopes to find another hole has opened up due to the pursuit of the defenders. He knifes between the Guard and Center for another 10 yard gain and yet another first down.


Play 4: 3rd & 1. 46. 5:48 3rd.

Offensive Personnel: 22 Personnel

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With two backs and two TE’s, the Vikings look to pick up the short yardage on 3rd down. This play is designed to be a cutback from the start. The entire left side of the line down blocks once again, wiping out the Falcons line, while the FB comes across the formation to take out the edge defender with a beautiful block. Peterson hits it hard and breaks a few tackles in the secondary for a gain of 17 yards.


Play 5: 2nd & 7. 26. 5:48 3rd.

Offensive Personnel: 12 Personnel

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A stretch play this time from the Vikings, with a similar kick out block to the last play. The Vikings line does a good job of getting on the outside shoulder of the defenders to seal off the edge of the defense. The WR’s do a decent job of blocking, although the outside WR does not come off his first block fast enough to pick up the closing CB. That doesn’t matter because Peterson powers through the defender in order to pick up a crucial first down and to continue the drive for the Vikings.


Play 6: 2nd & 8. -14. 14:11 4th.

Offensive Personnel: 21 Personnel

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This is the first time we have taken a look at the Vikings in a true I-Formation. The Vikings run a lead dive with the Center and Guard sealing off the defenders that are head up on them. The FB leads Peterson through the hole and takes out the unblocked LB who is filling the hole. Peterson uses his power to break through arm tackles and to get into the second level of the defense before gaining 16 yards.


Play 7: 3rd & 2. 48. 9:51 4th.

Offensive Personnel: 11 Personnel (WR tight)

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The Falcons actually do a nice job initially of blowing up this play. The Center and Left Guard double team the Falcons Nose Tackle, but the Right Guard is too late getting over to take on the filling LB but he does knock him down. Peterson cuts away from the designed hole but there is nowhere to go, he then cuts back for the initial hole and this time there is an opening. Peterson’s balance prevents him from getting tripped up going through the hole, once through he throws off a defender before sidestepping another and picking up the first down once again.


Play 8: 3rd & 5. 35. 4:23 4th.

Offensive Personnel: 11 Personnel (WR tight)

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For the final back breaker of the game, Peterson rips off a 35 yard TD run to put the game away. To get the edge, the Vikings down block with their outside TE and WR to wall off the edge defenders. The Right Tackle and offset TE pull around to take out the second level defenders who are the last line of defense for the Falcons. Peterson does a great job of reading his blockers and then shows his breakaway speed to finish the run and the game.


Adrian Peterson has regained his form, dominating opponents’ week in and week out even though they all know what is coming. Peterson has scored 8 TDs this season, the same amount as his QB a pretty astounding stat given where the game is today. Peterson is not having as dominant of a season as his 2,000 yard season but he is leading the NFL in rushing yardage again and is second in TDs. Peterson and the Vikings are rolling towards the playoffs taking the lead over the Packers in recent weeks. Keep an eye on the Vikings as they look to finish out the season strong.

Derek Willems

Derek was born, bred and fed in the Dawg Pound as a Cleveland Browns fan. Currently he is a student assistant with the Kent State Football program, his primary focus being Defensive Backs. He eventually hopes to coach high level football but for now in his spare time he enjoys breaking down film and writing to inform the readers of things he is seeing. For all of Derek's articles: <strong><a href="http://nflbreakdowns.com/author/DerekWillems/">Click Here</a>.</strong>