Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he's seen significant progress in the last week from running back Adrian Peterson, who is coming back from an ACL tear suffered Dec. 24. Frazier said he's been checking in regularly with Peterson to gauge his soreness and overall condition after recent games.
"He felt so much better this week in comparison to after the first game of the season on a Tuesday," Frazier said. "So we feel like he's really making progress from a physical standpoint."
Said Peterson: "Oh man, it's night and day. ... The biggest difference is the soreness. I really didn't wake up with a lot of soreness. I woke up Monday with a smile on my face."
Frazier said that could result in more carries for Peterson Sunday against San Francisco. So far this season, Peterson has been rotating carries with Toby Gerhart. Peterson had 17 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. He went 16 for 60 yards - with three receptions for 20 yards - last week. Peterson averaged 4.4 yards a carry in those games, which is only slightly below his career average.
"We think he's getting to that point where we can think about a few more carries," Frazier said. "He's getting close to that point, so we'll see how he does this week in practice. ... We've been rotating him and Toby every other series, but we're going to see how he does this week in practice."
The Vikings have played Jacksonville and Indianapolis so far this season. The 49ers and their stout run defense would be Peterson's stiffest test. San Francisco finished first against the run last season and didn't allow a rushing touchdown until Week 16 when they were without star inside linebacker Patrick Willis. The 49ers rank sixth in that category (63.5 yards a game) heading into Week 3.
Peterson, who entered the NFL with Willis in 2007, said he vividly remembers a hit Willis made on him when the Vikings visited Candlestick Park that year. "He got me on that one," Peterson said. "But when I look at that play, I know that he didn't just beat me mano-mano."
Instead, he said Willis had the advantage because he hit Peterson while Peterson was cutting to his left. "You can't cut and lower your shoulder and think you're going to run him over," Peterson said. "Some guys you can get away with it. But he's a different person, a different player. That's not happening."
Frazier also was asked about what he sees on tape from 49ers receiver Randy Moss. "He looks like he's pretty excited about being there in San Francisco," he said. "He's moving well. He seems very engaged. Seems like he's enjoying the game."
-- Matt Barrows