EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -When Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress wants to make a specific point during a press conference, he usually has an index card with detailed statistics resting in front of him to drive it home.
That was the case on Wednesday, when he offered unsolicited numbers on star rookie Adrian Peterson's playing time in Dallas last week.
``We understand here that we have a great talent in Adrian Peterson and we are trying to grow him just like we attempt to grow all of our young players,'' Childress said. ``I'm sure his role will increase as we go through the rest of this football season, but there will be times and situations where situations will dictate that we have other folks in the football game.''
Local media have questioned the coach about his use of Peterson all season long, but the angle seemed to hit another gear this week after the young running back got just six carries in the second half of a nationally televised loss to the Cowboys.
Talking heads like Bill Parcells and Mike Ditka started calling for Childress to get the ball to Peterson more, and on Wednesday, Childress was ready with a response.
He went through the game, quarter by quarter and sometimes possession by possession, to illustrate how Peterson was involved in the offense.
Childress noted that:
-Peterson touched the ball on seven of the team's 17 offensive plays in the first half.
-Peterson was on the field for six plays of the team's 11-play opening drive and touched the ball five times.
-In the second half, he was on the field for 11 plays and touched the ball seven times.
-Peterson was not on the field for the final two series of the game.
As Childress has said all along this season, the Vikings are bringing Peterson along gradually, spoon-feeding him more and more of the offense to digest each week.
Pass protection is an area that Peterson continues to work on, and so Childress typically likes to go with veteran Chester Taylor in situations where the running back is counted on to pick up a blitz.
``There are things that he does better than others and, obviously, the goal is to get him to do all things well within this offense,'' Childress said. ``Just as most people, they don't know it all after five games.''
Last week, Childress didn't hesitate to call Peterson his No. 2 running back leading up to the Cowboys game, even after Peterson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears.
He has split time with Taylor, a talented runner who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season.
The amiable Peterson hasn't complained about his limited role in the offense to this point.
``It's not frustrating at all,'' Peterson said. ``As a competitor, you want to be out there all the time. But Chester is definitely capable of getting the job done. At this level, you just have to be ready when they call your number.''
Childress was also handcuffed by his offense's inability to sustain drives. The Vikings managed just 17 plays in the first half and 48 for the game. Eight of the 12 times the Vikings had the ball, they ran three plays or less.
``Two of the series we were backed up with our backs to the goal line,'' Childress said. ``You really don't have your whole offense at your disposal.''
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