Found October 04, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Two seasons ago, a meeting between Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson, two of the NFL's premier running backs, would have been a highlight on the NFL's weekly schedule. Sunday's game, with Johnson's Tennessee Titans visiting Peterson's Minnesota Vikings, would have been billed as a matchup involving perhaps the game's biggest breakaway threat in the speedy Johnson and the best combination of power and elusiveness in Peterson. The two have been linked since Johnson debuted in 2008 with a 1,228-yard rookie season. Peterson, a year earlier had rushed for 1,341 yards as a rookie. The yards piled up until both players signed massive contracts before the start of the 2011 season, making them the two highest-paid running backs in the NFL. Now, with Peterson trying to get back to top form following major knee surgery and Johnson in the midst of his worst NFL season, Sunday's game lacks some of the appeal it might have held not long ago. But perhaps Peterson and Johnson are just getting ready for the showdown. Both are coming off their best performances of the season last weekend. Johnson ran 25 times for 141 yards against Houston's top-ranked run defense in a 38-14 Tennessee loss. "He looked like the Chris Johnson that we're all familiar with," Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said. "That's a good Texans run defense that he was running against. He had a good day, so we know we're going to have to come ready to play and play some good run defense against their offense." Peterson, nine months removed from surgery to repair two torn knee ligaments, had 102 yards on 21 carries in a 20-13 win at Detroit. "I've always been a fan of the way he runs the football, being a line coach," Titans coach Mike Munchak said of Peterson. "You get excited to watch the energy, the way he hits the hole. I'd never know he was hurt last year. It's amazing." Though Johnson has called himself the best back in the league, Peterson has avoided comparisons and says he doesn't pay close attention to the league's other top runners. When asked about this week's matchup against Johnson, Peterson didn't want to elaborate, saying only, "He is pretty good," when referring to his counterpart. "That's for (the media) to do," Peterson said. "I feel like I'm the best. I practice to be the best. So, focusing on other guys is not going to help me get better." Peterson's teammates, who face him in practice every day, are backing up his claim. "No comparison," Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford said. "You ask me, there's no back in this league, to me personally, that you can compare to Adrian. He's a different guy. Every back has their good and bad, and Chris Johnson he's a great back, but to compare him to AD? There's just no comparison to me." Last season, the link between the two grew stronger when they sought and received record-breaking contracts. First came Johnson, Tennessee's 24th overall selection in the 2008 draft, who became just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in one year when he had 2,006 in his second season. He signed a four-year, 53 million contract extension a week before the 2011 season began, getting a reported 30 million guaranteed. Peterson, the seventh overall selection in the 2007 draft who had set a single-game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego in his rookie year, took notice of the new pay standard but said he wasn't focused on Johnson's contract or any comparisons as he waited for his own deal. However, a week later, one day before Minnesota's season opener, Peterson signed a seven-year, 100 million contract that included 36 million guaranteed. Sunday's game now features two running backs who have had very difference results since signing those deals. Peterson fell short of 1,000 yards for the first time in his career last year after he missed four games due to ankle and knee injuries. But he rehabbed with his trademark tenacity and has put himself back among the league's top rushers. After surpassing 100 yards last week for the first time, he's now ranked 10th in the league with 332. "He looked more like the Adrian of old than at any point in this young season," Frazier said of Peterson's game last week. "He had some runs that showed the strength, the power, the elusiveness that we've seen in the past. It was just great to see. There was no hitch anywhere. He looked good." Most of Johnson's season rushing total came in last week's game. He ranks 25th in the league with 186 yards, averaging a career-low 3.2 per carry. Munchak believes Johnson's low total this season has come from playing behind in several games and not having the opportunity to establish the running game. His statistics really haven't been the same since signing the big contract. "Last year was the first time we kind of stubbed our toe on it a little bit," Munchak said of Johnson's 2011 season in which he had a career-low 1,047 yards after getting his big payday. "I think with 2,000, and the way he started that came so easy; I think those first three years, people don't expect that type of numbers from him when he first came into the league. And then he goes for 2,000 in his (second) year and expectations just got large. We still feel he's a back that can do exactly what you said, that 1,300 to 1,500 should be where he should be." And if Peterson and Johnson can both get back to that level, maybe the comparisons will return. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.

Adrian Peterson believes his knee is stronger than it was last season

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says he’s feels like his surgically repaired left knee is even stronger than it was last season. “I feel (the knee) is better than it was last year,” Peterson said, per the Pioneer Press.. “With that being said, I know that I’ve got a little ways to go to get to where I want to be.” Peterson averaged 4.7 yards per carry last...

Ponder and the Vikings emerge as dark horse contenders

While it’s still a little early to label the Minnesota Vikings as NFC North favorites, they certainly look like the most consistent team in the division. Christian Ponder has been playing solid football and looks to be a promising quarterback for a Vikings team that hasn’t seen much consistency at the position in the last decade or more. The defense has looked good enough and...

Peterson vs. Johnson: ‘I feel I’m the best’

Adrian Peterson isn’t much interested in comparisons between him and Titans RB Chris Johnson. The two face each other Sunday, but after three rushing titles between them, but 2009 was the last time either of them led the league.

Titans-Vikings Preview

Now fully healthy, Adrian Peterson is a big reason the Minnesota Vikings are tied atop the NFC North. The Tennessee Titans hope Chris Johnson's latest performance is the start of good things to come for them and their star running back. Looking to continue their surprising start, Peterson and the Vikings can surpass their win total from last season with a third consecutive...

Week 5 Rush Defense: Is CJ OK?

Chris Johnson is officially the most frustrating player in all of Fantasy Football.  In his first three games, he rushed for a total of 45 yards against decent, but not great run defenses.  So what does he do against the hardest defense he’s faced this year?  He carries the ball 25 times for 141 yards.  He didn’t even get all of those yards off of one break-away carry. ...

Fantasy PPR Week 5 Running Back Rankings: Top 40

It is officially week five of the fantasy football season and in this article we are once again focusing on the rankings for this week. These rankings will help you determine which running backs you should play and sit this week and are based off standard scoring with a point per reception. It has kind of been an up and down season for running backs thus far, with some big...

Vikings will have to limit Johnson, Reynaud

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Fresh off back-to-back wins, the Minnesota Vikings return home to the Metrodome to face the Tennessee Titans this week, dealing with heightened expectations.Minnesota (3-1) has already matched last season's win total with wins against the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions. The Vikings feel they are prepared to handle the success this season."I think...

The Fantasy Football Pedestal: CJ2K

The following fantasy football e-mail chain between Ryan Fowler and Joel Beall took place on October 1 - October 4, 2012. The topic featured was not discussed in advance. On the Fantasy Pedestal: Chris Johnson From: Joel Beall Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 1:59 PM To: 'Ryan Fowler' Subject: Pedestal Week 5 Though three games is a relatively small sample to extrapolate...

Thoughts from a trip to Reliant Stadium

I'm not sure what Chris Johnson was thinking about as I took this picture in the last half hour or so before kickoff of Sunday's game against the Texans, but I hope it gave him the strength to (a) have what I thought was clearly his best, most consistent performance of the season and (b) survive watching the defense play on the sidelines. When I wrote about the...

Fantasy PPR Week 2 Running Back Rankings: Top 40

It is officially week five of the fantasy football season and in this article we are once again focusing on the rankings for this week. These rankings will help you determine which running backs you should play and sit this week and are based off standard scoring with a point per reception. It has kind of been an up and down season for running backs thus far, with some big-time...

Minnesota Vikings: Week 5 NFL Power Rankings (#12)

Last week: 12 (+0) Record: 3-1 The Vikings are still the favorite to be this year’s team that goes from 5 wins or fewer to the playoffs. They are the only candidate even in the top-22 in yards per play differential, ranking 9th. Their defense and offensive line are both much improved. Christian Ponder and Percy Harvin are both having breakout years and Adrian Peterson is making...

Enemy Intelligence: Last week's Minnesota Vikings game

  Last week, the Minnesota Vikings went on the road and beat the Detroit Lions, 20-13, to improve their record on the season to 20-13. The Vikings opened the season with an overtime win against the Jaguars at home, lost a three-point game at Indianapolis, then knocked off the 49ers at home fairly comfortably before the divisional win. The keys to last week's win were...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.