Huddle Up

NFL News and Analysis with Andrew Perloff

Perloff
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  • 11:49 PM ET  10.18

 

Adrian-peterson
The Vikes nearly lost Adrian Peterson to injury Sunday.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

A weekly NFL column that heads in the opposite direction of your average pro football analysis.

 

1. Notice how all the air was sucked out of the Metrodome when Adrian Peterson went down with what looked like a potentially serious ankle injury? Peterson came back in the game later, but the scare had to remind Vikings fans that their star's physical style puts him in some risk. Peterson doesn't run like Emmitt Smith or LaDainian Tomlinson, who piled up yards (or, in L.T.'s case, still sort of pile up) without taking too many direct hits. Even though backs like Tomlinson and Smith go down a lot easier than Peterson and don't come up with the same kind of long runs, their overall stats speak for themselves.

The Ravens' near-comeback shows why the Vikings can only go so far trying to rest Peterson in games that aren't out of reach. His backup, 30-year-old Chester Taylor, had just 22 yards on eight carries on Sunday. Peterson has been reasonably healthy so far in his career. Will it last if he doesn't change his running style?

2. As long as I'm trying to throw a wet blanked on unbeaten teams, the Saints may actually face a stiffer challenge in Miami next week than they did this week against the Giants. New York played into New Orleans' hands and allowed the game to become a shootout. The Dolphins will try to grind out the clock, like they did in their loss to the Colts and win over the Jets. Miami's only problem is the inability to stop the big play. If Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was able to address that over their bye, the 'Fins have a chance to knock New Orleans out of the ranks of the unbeaten.

3. Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner passed the 30,000-yard mark Sunday. That number sounds impressive, but it's really not when you consider it's 8,000 less than Kerry Collins' career total. That's a result of Warner's backup time in New York. Nevertheless, Warner is a 100 percent, surefire lock for the Hall of Fame, no matter what the number-crunchers say. When his presenter stands up before the Hall election committee and re-tells the bagging groceries stories, every voter is going to melt and give him the nod.

4. We may all be a bit surprised if Redskins owner Daniel Snyder doesn't fire Jim Zorn. Here's a few theories as to why he may keep the embattled head coach:

a. Snyder knows we thinks he will and doesn't want to give us the satisfaction.
b. Snyder doesn't want to look bad for hiring Zorn in the first place.
c. No one on the staff wants the head coaching job.
d. Snyder knows he can't get an A-list coach until after the season and doesn't want to risk an interim coach getting on a roll.

5. Not a great day for the Wildcat. The Browns started to look like they were rolling with direct snaps to Josh Cribbs, until the former college quarterback threw a pick. The Eagles ran one Wildcat play with Michael Vick in their loss to the Raiders - a run that lost yards. The only other time Vick was on the field, quarterback Donovan McNabb got confused and called a timeout even though the Eagles didn't have any.

But the trendy alignment probably isn't dead. Judging by some of the bad quarterback play around the NFL, the Wildcat may be the only way to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers.

6. Too many people continue to discount the Steelers. With Troy Polamalu on the field, they could have a nice run against 6-0 Minnesota, 5-0 Denver and 4-2 Cincinnati. Last season, we learned the Steelers like to elevate their game to match their competition.

7. The Giants and the Bengals aren't great at covering tight ends. They're still 100 times better than the Eagles. After Tampa Bay's Kellen Winslow surpassed the century mark last week, Oakland's Zach Miller torched them for 139 yards on Sunday. That can't bode well for Philly as it enters its tight end-rich NFC East schedule.

8. What happened to the old axiom about running the ball in cold weather? The Patriots threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns in the snow, and cold-weather teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh have become pass-crazy. Just another by-product of rule changes that protect receivers from physical play.

9. It's time we all forget the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl within the last five years. Even though they have the same quarterback, this is a totally different team and has to be thrown in with the other rebuilding projects.

10. Got a lot of e-mail in the offseason for leaving Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of my way-early 2010 mock draft's first round. McCoy folded against Oklahoma's pressure on Saturday, completing 21-of-39 for just 127 yards. Quarterbacks can overcome the stigma of not playing in a pro style in college, but it helps if they're big, strong-armed guys like Sam Bradford, who I still think will go high despite his shoulder injury. McCoy doesn't appear to fall into that category right now.

You can debate football with Andrew every day at DanPatrick.com.

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