Because if they don't, it could be a long day for your Houston Texans in Minnesota on Sunday. The official site reports some jarring statistics:
Peterson ranks second in the NFL in rushing with 684 yards behind Washington's Clinton Portis with 944 yards. Peterson has five rushing touchdowns this season, which ranks ninth in the league. His career average of 96.4 rushing yards per game in 21 pro games ranks the highest in the NFL over the past two seasons.
Add in that the Texans are currently giving up an average of nearly 120 rushing yards per game (and thus ranked 21st in the league against the run), and the prospect of stopping Peterson becomes downright terrifying. Man, I could really use some inspiring quotes from the defense about how they're going to handle Peterson. What's that? The official site has some? Great!
"If anybody has a secret, please let me know," cornerback Jacques Reeves said. "I'm open for suggestions. We just have to get to the ball and gang tackle."
"After he gets past the front line, when he gets to the secondary, it's trouble,'' cornerback Demarcus Faggins said. "He's very hard to tackle in the open field. He's big and also if he gets a step on you he's gone. He can run you over. He can run past you.
Well, that didn't work. Actually, I think we can expand Petey's notion to, "If the ball gets past the front line, when it gets to the secondary, it's trouble." But I digress; let's keep it on Peterson. The other quotes in the article, from DeMeco, Diles, and The Corpse Formerly Known As Anthony Weaver, more or less agree with Reeves' take; namely, that it's folly to think that Peterson can be handled one-on-one. He'll require multiple Texans to keep him in check. That's fine and good, but it's still going to require good tackling, and that's something the Texans have struggled with at times this season.
Aside from the tackling concerns, I'm wondering how Richard Smith plans to attack the Vikings' offense. Convential wisdom would seem to suggest that you'd stick eight (8) in the box and make Gus Frerotte beat you. That's all well and good, but then you're leaving your secondary on an island, an act which I'd totally support if we could figure out a way to literally maroon Petey Faggins and Jacques Reeves on a remote archipelago. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't, right?
This strikes me as a game where you really, really need a defensive coordinator who can make adjustments on the fly, bringing pressure from different angles and moving players all over the place prior to the snap. Unfortunately, I don't have any confidence that Richard Smith is capable of doing that. Thus, I pose the question to you, BRB: How do you stop Adrian Peterson? Because I don't think your Houston Texans can.