As Vikings running back Adrian Peterson closes in on his 30th birthday, one of the best players in league history will be working with his third head coach at the NFL level. And while the presence of coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner won’t make Peterson play any harder, the 2012 league MVP believes that Zimmer and Turner will get the best out of players who aren’t necessarily self-motivated.
“Me personally, I could play for a guy like Coach [Leslie] Frazier and go out and still give 110 percent,” Peterson told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “A lot of guys can’t respond to him. . . . Some guys can respond to that. Some guys can’t.
“Some guys need that guy that is going to be in your face and tell you what you don’t like, but you know is true. Guys respond to that. It’s a different energy level when you get that from your head coach. It’s probably the first time we experienced that. Coach [Brad] Childress was kind of fiery at times. He’d talk noise to you and get on you as well. But in this sense, it’s from the head coach, the offensive coordinator — it’s around the board. I think as men, it’s not to a disrespectful level. So, they’re able to take the coaching, enjoy it more, have fun while doing it and then have that sense that, ‘You know what? I like this. This is fun. This is what I want. This is what I’m needing.’ That’s what I’m kind of sens[ing]. That can change a team just like that.”
With the talent levels tighter than ever in the NFL, the right coach at the time right could be the difference between a playoff appearance and another year on the outside looking in. For the Vikings, maybe it will eventually mean a return to the game in which the franchise has lost four and won none.