Monday, June 14, 2010

Childress Justified in Peterson Reaction

Whether it was just for Adrian Peterson Day in his hometown, or because he's actually unhappy about his contract, it appears Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress is upset with Peterson.

The star running back skipped the Vikings' mandatory minicamp this weekend, ostensibly to attend a day in his honor in Texas.

Maybe he figured he was okay to not show up, since the quarterback isn't showing up until he feels like it.

He figured wrong. Friday, Childress put Peterson in his place.
"The work is here," Childress said after Friday's workout. ... "I just know that there's a bunch of guys here," Childress said. "This has a term 'mandatory' for a reason and the work is here, period. This is the fourth annual Adrian Peterson Day. I don't know if it's going to be like every year that they are going to have that, but we're going to have this, too. The same thing I told [rookie running back] Toby Gerhart, way before we decided on drafting him. This minicamp was on this date. I know he's going to go back and walk in graduation. This [camp] was going to be here."

... "I don't think Adrian is batting around retirement in his mind. It's a special set of circumstances. You can say is it special? Is everything equal? Obviously it is not. That is just the way it is. It's a matter of fact and everybody understands that on our side of the equation."

This is a message on a couple fronts. First, Childress is making clear that Favre is the star on this team ... as he should. Favre has allegedly not decided on playing another season, even though none of us are stupid and we all know he's playing.

If you were 40 and could use the "Maybe I'll retire, Chilly" card to get out of training camp, while still having everyone salute your virtues as a teammate because you tell people to watch film and you know the words to "Pants On The Ground," you'd do it, too.

Second, Childress wants it known that Peterson, and not Favre, is the offensive star who still has work to do on his game. Peterson's numbers regressed last year, and it wasn't just because of Favre or the overrated offensive line.

No, Peterson regressed -- in large part -- because he spent too much time worrying about his fumbles. Just like with Ahman Green when he was a star, the fumble problem manifests itself once you have a few on your record. It's hard not to think about it, because you're human after all, and you're hearing about it every five minutes during the week between games.

It's hard not to imagine that defensive players didn't take the time to beak "All Day" a bit last year, just to make him think a little more.

The only way to get him to be better is to improve his focus and improve his fundamentals. The time to do that isn't in September. It's really not in August, either. It's in May and June, during the so-called "underwear practices."

Peterson apparently thinks it's more important to be in a parade.

That Peterson knew of this conflict for a long time and didn't tell anyone probably incensed Childress even more.

Carol Pegues, who is Peterson's aunt and serves as the organizer for "Adrian Peterson Day," said the day honoring her nephew was planned right after the season. Nonetheless, Childress said Peterson did not inform him of the conflict until this past Wednesday or Thursday, only a couple of days after Peterson had arrived at Winter Park.

I'd be pissed at him, too, frankly. It shows no commitment to his game, his team, or his coach. If he's mad about his contract, he should probably say so.

(No, Childress probably wouldn't admit it publicly. But you can be guaran-damn-teed someone respected would have reported it by now. The Vikings are a high-profile team, and such news wouldn't pass through unnoticed.)

It goes beyond the fumble problem. For the Vikings to win the NFC North again in 2010, they need Peterson at his best. Favre isn't likely to exceed his outstanding numbers from 2009, no matter what he does. Peterson won't be able to regress statistically again, especially if his ultimate goal is to see some more money come his way.

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