"These guys are good, but we're looking forward to the challenge," Peterson said in the locker room today. "I don't think they've faced a run-attack offense like we have. So I think that can switch things up. We're looking forward to playing those guys.
"I'm sure they'll come in trying to stop the run," Peterson said when asked if he thinks the 49ers will play eight or nine players close to the line of scrimmage. "We have to be productive offensively to keep those guys honest. Complete some balls down the field and still run the ball. We have the guys to do it, and I feel if we're able to execute the game plan, then we should be OK."
The Vikings do have a solid rushing attack and Adrian Peterson is a dominant running back. In fact, he is showing this year just how ridiculously good he is by the way he has rebounded from his ACL injury. I did a Q&A with Daily Norseman, and one of the questions I asked pertained to this:
NN: Is Adrian Peterson man or machine? He made a Jerry Rice-like return from knee issues and seems none the worse for wear. He had 85 yards against the 49ers a couple years ago, and three yards as a rookie. How will the Vikings attack the 49ers vaunted rushing defense?
DN: Adrian Peterson is a cyborg, quite possibly proof that Skynet does exist and is already sending Terminators back to theearly 21st century, pre-positioning them for the Great Judgement Day. The way he has been able to come back and play at a high level has been impressive and comforting. As to attacking the 49ers defense, I think Minnesota will need to be patient. The offensive line is better than it has been, and if the Vikes defense can keep the game close and they don't have to play catch up, they can use Peterson and Toby Gerhart to move the chains and eat the clock.
They can't expect to rip off 6 or 7 yards at a time, but if they can use the running game to get into favorable down and distance situations, and keep wearing down the defense, Peterson might be able to really make some noise in the second half and rip off some big runs.
When the Minnesota Vikings can execute their game plan they are able to find success rushing the ball. Any time a team can execute their game plan, they will often find success. And the 49ers defense has to be prepared for a heavy dose of the Vikings rushing attack.
However, I think Mike Tyson put it best:
Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
The 49ers defense is a punch you in the mouth kind of defense, and will be waiting for the Vikings, accordingly. Peterson said he did not think the 49ers rushing defense had faced a run-attack offense like Minnesota. Tre made a good point about needing to really look back through 2011 given the return of the starting defense.
The 49ers faced some solid rushing attacks last year. In looking through the yards per attempt rankings from last year, the 49ers faced teams that finished third (Eagles), fourth (Saints), 11th (Steelers), 12th (Ravens) and 13th (Lions). A healthy Adrian Peterson is as good as any running back out there, but this is not a novice 49ers rush defense. At the same time, the Vikings ranked second in yards per carry last year, so I suppose one interpretation of his comment is that he is in fact speaking the truth.
Whatever the case, this should be a fun matchup to watch. The 49ers have had a dominant run defense since the start of last season, and there is something to be said for facing the best of the best. All that matters to me is getting the win, but there would be something a little extra sweet about shutting down the man some call Purple Jesus.