By Joseph Gunther
Adrian Peterson should start clearing out his trophy case.
Tuesday, the star running back was recognized by his Minnesota Viking teammates as the team’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
The award honors one player from each team as the player who exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. The recipients of the award are selected because of their on and off the field extra efforts and their ability to overcome great adversity, whether it be personal or professional. The award has been given out since 1984, and is named in honor of Ed Block, who was a trainer for the Baltimore Colts. All 32 winners will be given a trophy at a ceremony in Baltimore in March.
Peterson has 1,812 yards through 14 games and is on pace to surpass Eric Dickerson’s 28-year-old record for rushing yards in a season. Head coach Leslie Frazier does not believe it will weigh on the biggest threat on the Vikings’ offense.
“Adrian and I were just talking (before the press conference Monday) about that part of things and what we’re trying to get accomplished,” Frazier said. “That’s to go out and get a win on the road in Houston. The record would be great, but the most important thing is to get a win in Houston. The fact that he feels that way will permeate through the rest of our team. He wants to really concentrate on winning this game, more so than the record. Our players are enthused by what he’s been doing. It’s been incredible to watch and they are pulling for him without question. I think every one of our guys knows the importance of winning this game. If the record comes that would be terrific, but the most important thing is to get a win.”
Dickerson has expressed his desire to keep the record. Peterson needs just 294 yards to pass the Hall of Fame running back.
Turning up the heat in practice
Frazier planned to turn the temperature up in the team’s practice facility to simulate the 70 degree weather awaiting the team in Houston. Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, has a retractable roof which will create ideal game play conditions.
“We’re going to warm it up a little bit,” he said. “They’re predicting about 72 to 75, which is a lot different than where we are right now. We’re going to try to simulate that as best we can.”
In 2004, the Vikings made their first and only regular season trip to date to Houston. The Vikings won that meeting 34-28.
Cook decision later in week
Chris Cook is finally eligible to return from a broken arm. Whether or not he plays Sunday against the Texans won’t be known until the end of the week.
“We’ll continue to practice him much like we have the last couple of weeks, with the mindset that we’re getting him ready to play because he’s eligible,” Frazier said. “We’ll have to see how he does as the week goes on but our goal is to try to get him up if he shows that he’s ready. We’ll make that determination later in the week.”
Cook has not played since the injury, which occurred against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mall of America Field in Week 8. A.J. Jefferson has replaced Cook in the starting lineup since.
“We’ll just have to see how he does during the week and see how he comes along from a conditioning standpoint as well as some of the things we’ll ask him to do game-plan wise,” Frazier said.
The Vikings have struggled in recent weeks to stop big, physical wide receivers. Cook’s return would go a long way to slowing down Texans top receiver Andre Johnson.
Walsh earns second player of the week honors
Blair Walsh became the third Vikings rookie to earn two player of the week honors. He was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week honors after making all five field goal attempts (distances of 50, 38, 42, 53 and 51 yards) against the St. Louis Rams. The three kicks of 50 yards or more tied an NFL record for most field goals of that distance. He also tied and NFL record by making all eight field goal attempts of 50 yards or more for the season.
He joins Peterson and Randy Moss as the only rookies in Vikings history to earn the award multiple times. He is the fifth Vikings kicker to win the award. The others are Fuad Reveiz (twice), Gary Anderson (four times), Eddie Murray (once) and Ryan Longwell (twice).
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.