LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -One running back named Adrian Peterson has become a familiar name, leading the NFL in rushing as a star rookie for the Minnesota Vikings. Another plays for the Chicago Bears and isn't nearly as well known.
But the veteran Adrian Peterson, a third-down specialist this season whose career has developed on special teams, is going to have an impact, too - at least for the Bears.
He'll get a chance to start in the backfield for just the second time Sunday when Chicago faces the New York Giants at Soldier Field.
With Cedric Benson finished for the season and placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury, the Bears will count on Peterson. They have to.
His only other start came in 2003 and now he'll be the No. 1 guy for the remainder of the season. It's been a long wait for the sixth-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern in 2002.
``Six years. Six years, but you know, I'm not going out trying to do anything special or anything like that,'' Peterson said of his opportunity. ``Same role, you're just starting the game. Same role.''
Not quite. He'll be in the game more and get a chance to develop a rhythm for an offense that has struggled running the ball all season.
Peterson has gained 189 yards on 52 carries and caught 33 passes, tied for second most on the team. He's also a reliable blocker in protection, a must for Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, who's facing a Giants defense led by Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora that has 38 sacks.
``He's had flashes where he has carried the football and looked good doing it, but every running back wants to be the lead guy and now he's getting an opportunity to do that,'' Bears coach Lovie Smith said.
``Once you have success in a limited role, guys are supposed to get an opportunity to carry more of the load. He's getting his chance.''
And it's not like the Bears are playing out the season, either. Chicago is 5-6 and figures it still has a shot in the mediocre NFC at making the playoffs as a wild card.
The Bears were buoyed by a 37-34 comeback win in overtime against Denver on Sunday with Peterson scoring a key TD on a 4-yard run, gaining 45 yards on 17 carries and catching passes for 41 yards. He took over after Benson was hurt in the second quarter.
Rookie Garrett Wolfe now moves into the backup role.
Grossman said the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Peterson's blocking skills go beyond taking out a blitzing linebacker or defensive back.
``He's strong and can pick up,'' Grossman said. ``Sometimes you have to put him on a defensive tackle because a linebacker's blitzing up the gap and he's strong enough to take on some of those defensive tackles for a little bit.''
Notes: T Fred Miller, who could also play a big role in protecting Grossman, missed practice Wednesday with a sore ankle. KR Devin Hester, voted the NFC Special Teams player of the week after returning a punt and a kickoff for TDs against the Broncos, also sat out with a sore foot. ... Hester also was in mourning for Sean Taylor, the Redskins safety who died from a gunshot wound Tuesday. Hester and Taylor both played at Miami.

Recent NFL Discussions

2016 QB Rankings on Wed, Jun 2016 by Blade
2016 Coaching Changes on Wed, Jun 2016 by Blade
2016 College Conference Previews on Mon, Jun 2016 by Blade
Hot Seat Coaches on Sat, Jun 2016 by Blade

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Talib shot in the leg Aqib Talibwas shot in the leg on Saturday, but seems to have avoided serious injury and will be able to return to the Denver Broncos...
Thumbnail Romo eyes lengthy return Injuries have been an issue at times for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but the veteran NFL star is far from thinking about...
Thumbnail Lockette retiring from Seahawks The Seattle Seahawks are losing another skill-position player from last year’s team as receiver Ricardo Lockette is expected to announce his retirement...
Thumbnail Dolphins securing the D-Line The Miami Dolphins are trying to make a push for the playoffs and they aided that on Saturday by signing Cameron Wake to a two-year...
Thumbnail Updated Super Bowl LI Odds The 2016 NFL Draft has now concluded. How did the draft impact the odds to win the Super Bowl next season?
More inNFL Articles  

NFL Team Pages