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Even Without Peterson, Run Defense Critical for Patriots vs. Vikings

Even with Adrian Peterson being deactivated, the Patriots' run defense is facing immense pressure to step up this Sunday.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Marshall Faulk has posed this week's question to the SB Nation football bloggers, and it's about who is facing pressure to perform in week two:

Although the Minnesota Vikings won't be deploying All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson tomorrow due to an indictment on child abuse charges, the Patriots' run defense still needs to step up from where they were last week.

While Knowshon Moreno certainly ran with purpose against the Patriots, he did it behind an offensive line that had experienced a lot of turnover and would be considered mediocre at best. The Dolphins, simply put, aren't a team whose identity is tied to the running game.

The Vikings, even without Adrian Peterson, are that team. Their a power running football team. Matt Asiata is a 235 pound bruising back who ran well in limited touches near the end of last season. Jerick McKinnon is a third round pick with explosive playmaking ability and athleticism that is an excellent compliment to Asiata.

We don't know how the Patriots' run defense will be tomorrow. Perhaps the Patriots switch to some four man fronts - although that could be unlikely with Jamie Collins ailing. Perhaps we see more Wilfork - Siliga pairings. What we do know is that defending the run is going to be every bit as critical as it was before Peterson was deactivated. The entire front seven and the coaching staff need to step up. If they don't, it could be another long day and a long year for the Patriots.

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