By Teresa Varley
The Steelers defense will face a tough test this week, trying to stop the Vikings explosive running back Adrian Peterson.
Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 121 carries for 624 yards, a 5.2-yard average. He has scored seven rushing touchdowns, including taking one 64 yards for a score.
"You just check his numbers; everything he has been doing is on paper," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. "I think he does a good job of seeing the hole, hitting the hole and getting away from guys. You can't arm tackle a guy like that. You have to hit him as a team or he will break free and put six on the board."
Woodley compared Peterson to New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, 6-4, 264 pounds, but just a smaller version as Peterson is 6-1, 217 pounds.
"He is a guy who is going to constantly come at you, a guy who is going to hit the hole and try to run you over, a guy who is not going to try and get out of bounds, just trying to gain yards each time he carries the ball," said Woodley. "He has the ability to hit the hole and has speed. Once he sees it, he hits it. It doesn't take him long to get it started. He has great foot work."
While the Steelers will zone in on Peterson, they can't lose track of another weapon the Vikings have on offense, quarterback Brett Favre. Favre has led them to a 6-0 record to date, throwing for 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions.
"You can't focus on one thing," said Woodley. "You focus on the run and then Brett Favre will beat you. If you focus on the pass, you have Adrian Peterson who can run the ball. You have to balance it out and try to stop both."
Running back Rashard Mendenhall got the nod from Coach Mike Tomlin to get the majority of the snaps in the running game moving forward, and while Mendenhall is taking it just one game at a time, he also is happy to have the opportunity.
"I feel like they are confident in me and my abilities and what I can bring to this team," said Mendenhall. "If they weren't he wouldn't have said that. At the same time I feel like I have to keep growing."
The annual Steelers food drive to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will be held at the Steelers-Vikings game at Heinz Field this Sunday.
Giant Eagle will match donations on a pound-for-pound basis.
Food Bank volunteers will be stationed at Heinz Field gates to collect non-perishable food items to help the needy in our area.
You can also donate online to the virtual food drive at by visiting Steelers Virtual Food Drive.