Most teams use their scout teams to run plays against their No. 1 offense and defense. Players are assigned to simulate top players on the upcoming opponent as a way to prepare the offense or defense for coping with an elite player on the other side.
The problem with the Minnesota Vikings is that how does anyone simulate running back Adrian Peterson? Just putting on a No. 28 jersey does not turn a backup into the game’s reigning MVP and best running back in the NFL.
The Bears’ defense departed from custom on Wednesday, using a familiar face to approximate the Vikings legend:
“Matt Forte,” said cornerback Charles Tillman. “We're just ones-on-ones the whole time. He gives us his best. He's just running his plays, so I guess, he would have to be our Adrian Peterson.”
The “real” Adrian Peterson is his own unique problem, however.
He set a personal goal of 2,500 rushing yards this season, and his coach isn’t doubting him. And not that Leslie Frazier would give away any secrets if there were any, but Frazier, a former Super Bowl cornerback with the ’85 Bears, isn’t sure he’d want any part of Peterson himself.
”Just being on the same team as Walter Payton for so long, I used to ask myself that question a lot pertaining to Walter,” Frazier said, laughing. “Now with Adrian, I’m sure most corners don’t want to tackle Adrian Peterson, nor did they want to have to tackle Walter. You want to make sure those linebackers and defensive linemen do their jobs.
“Adrian is the reigning MVP in the league and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about trying to tackle him. I’ve just to figure out ways to get the ball to him.”
And after Frazier does that, it’s the Bears’ problem.
“He’s one of the better…,” began defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, then corrected himself. “No, he’s one of the best backs to ever play the game, so everyone’s got to do their job. I mean, everyone, everyone has to be at the point of attack every time he gets the ball. Front side, back side, D-line, linebackers, secondary, every time he gets the ball he can go the distance and we know that.
“It’s a matter of technique and fundamentals, and everyone doing their job, and fitting where they’re supposed to fit, and playing hard and getting a population on the ball. We don’t want to leave it up to one guy. That’s very important.