GREEN BAY – As much as Leslie Frazier wants to see running back Adrian Peterson break the NFL’s single-season rushing record on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings coach made it clear Wednesday morning that getting Peterson the requisite 208 rushing yards in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Green Bay Packers is not as important as winning the game – and thereby clinching the sixth and final NFC playoff berth.
“We’re going to have to call a regular game and if the record comes in the midst of us getting a win, that would be great,” Frazier said in a conference call with Wisconsin reporters. “Adrian will be the first to tell you that the most important thing for our team is to win. If we don’t get the record and we win, he’s going to be a happy dude, no matter what. He wants to win the game, and that’s how we’re approaching it. We’ve got to find a way to win the game.”
The Vikings (9-6) have a simply playoff scenario against the Packers: Win, and they’re in. If the Vikings lose, they’ll need a loss by the Chicago Bears to the Detroit Lions, a loss by the New York Giants to the Philadelphia Eagles, and a loss by the Dallas Cowboys to the Washington Redskins to sneak into the playoffs at 9-7.
However, while Bears-Lions and Giants-Eagles are noon starts and the Vikings will know the outcome before taking the field at 3:25 p.m., the Cowboys-Redskins game is the Sunday Night Football game.
Meanwhile, although Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings created a bit of a stir when he said that he wanted to see Peterson get the record, his defensive teammates aren’t in agreement. They’d like to not only beat the Vikings – securing the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye – but keep Peterson from breaking Eric Dickerson’s NFL record of 2,105 yards.
“If anybody deserves to get the record, it’s definitely (Peterson), no doubt about it. But unfortunately, they’re playing us,” cornerback Tramon Williams said after Sunday’s victory over Tennessee. “We want to put our best foot forward. It’s going to be a tough task; we know that already. But if history is on our side, A.P. had his good game against us already. Hopefully, we can come back and get our good game against him.
“If it happens, we’ve shown already that he can run for 200 and still win. But we want to play our best ball, we want to control all we can control, and the way the guys are playing, we think that we can put a better performance than we did the first game.”
Peterson rushed for 210 yards on 21 carries in the Packers’ first game against the Vikings, on Dec. 2 at Lambeau Field. Green Bay still won the game, 23-14.
Asked last week if he wanted to revise his remarks about Peterson and the record, which he’d made in a national interview, Jennings said no.
“It’s one of those situations where he’s playing against us in the last game of the season, so if he were to get it, it would have to be against us,” Jennings said. “Do you want our defense to do that and let him get it? No. But if he does get it, I’m not going to be pissed.
“That’s the thing. You have to learn to appreciate what you have out there. I mean, who knows if that will ever happen? Just like with (Lions wide receiver) Calvin (Johnson) breaking Jerry Rice’s record. I (wanted) him to do it. That’s just the way it is. Records are meant to be broken, whether it’s against you or someone else.”
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