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Frazier: Vikings must 'revisit' strategy of going away from AP

Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier knows his team stands a better shot of holding onto late leads by giving Adrian Peterson the ball. Now they just have to do it.

The franchise running back had just five carries in the second half of Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions, the third consecutive game in which the Vikings had a double-digit lead at halftime. Minnesota has held leads of 10, 17 and 20 points at the half, outscoring opponents 54-7.

In the second half, Minnesota has been outscored 67-6 and has an 0-3 record to show for it. The Vikings have achieved that without turning over the ball in
the second half, and they are a plus-1 in turnover margin overall. A perceived lack of Peterson in the game plan has been cited as a reason for the team's late-game struggles.

"I think we've been pretty good about getting him his carries," Frazier said during his Monday news conference. "Although yesterday in the second half, his numbers were down, and we got to take a look at that."

As a whole, Peterson's 2011 statistics are excellent. He's sixth in the league in rushing with 296 yards and is averaging an impressive 5.1 yards per carry. He also has scored three touchdowns. But the bulk of his damage has been done in the first half.

Going away from the All-Pro in crunch time has been a head-scratcher.

"We don't want in a close ballgame for him to only carry the ball five times, so we have to revisit that," Frazier said. "For the most part, we've gotten the ball in his hands and he's gotten production. Even in the first half of the ballgame yesterday, he had great production. Second half, he didn't get as much, and production's down."

So, yes, clearly the problem is diagnosed. We assume the Vikings will repeatedly pound the ball against the Kansas CityChiefs next Sunday, a decision that will silence critics, satiate their biggest star and provide them with the competitive advantage having a player like Peterson affords.

But even if that does happen, one huge, Mall of America-sized question will remain: What took so long?

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