Ponder Slides Head First, Peterson Won’t
I was downright infuriated at the thought of Adrian Peterson, who knows not how to play football half-assed, being thrown into a meaningless game of preseason football. The burden of being cautious with Peterson and his knee became less troublesome when Toby Gerhart and Lex Hilliard confirmed what I already thought I knew… they are pretty darn competent running backs in their own right.
So, while some may not be too thrilled, I am happy to pass along the news that Adrian Peterson is not expected to make a preseason appearance. While Peterson was removed from the PUP list this last week, an NFL source has told 1500 ESPN that the team plans to keep him on the sideline at least until the regular season begins.
I think this is a smart move by the Vikings coaching and training staff, and they should heavily consider keeping him off the field into the regular season if there is even the slightest worry about a reoccurring injury.
Peterson isn’t the only player being controlled by the coaching staff in an effort to improve durability. Christian Ponder took some heat for his head first slide during the last preseason game, but offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave confirmed that he has coached Ponder to do exactly that.
“It’s a personal preference, and what’s really important when a quarterback runs is getting down in time … as those defenders converge,” Musgrave recently said. “You can maximize or squeeze out the last possible yard, but at the same time, maintain your health so you can line up for the next play.”
“Coach Musgrave made this cut-up about sliding head first versus sliding feet first and we’ve never seen someone get hurt sliding head first,” Ponder said. “So, it’s on purpose. When you slide feet first, you’re exposing your body to get hit and like we saw at Washington (with) me last year, I got pretty jacked up that game.”
Beyond the vicious hit Ponder took last season, Musgrave pointed to hits taken by quarterbacks Steve Pelluer and Trent Green as examples of feet first slides resulting in devastating consequences. Conversly, Musgrave points out the players such as John Elway and Drew Brees have had great success getting to the ground quicker by diving head first as defenders converge.
It is unconventional, yes… but I have to say, the Vikings need some outside-the-box thinking, and I like this particular tactic.
I was feeling a bit negative about the Vikings coaching staff last week, but these two items have me feeling a little better. It is amazing what a win can do… even in the preseason.