Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson takes the handoff from quarterback Drew Stanton against the 49ers last weekend.
The Cardinals landed in Arizona around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night from their game in San Francisco, and Adrian Peterson drove directly back to the team's Tempe facility and spent some time in the cold tub.
After a career-high 37 carries – the most by any player in the NFL this season – and knowing he was going to play just a few days later on "Thursday Night Football," diligence in rehabbing his body was crucial and Peterson "wanted to get ahead of the curve."
"Body is feeling fresh, feeling rejuvenated, ready to roll," Peterson said Wednesday. As for the pounding he took Sunday, "I've felt worse after games."
Coach Bruce Arians said this week that he figured Peterson will get another heavy load against the Seahawks Thursday despite what it took to rush for 159 yards Sunday. The Seahawks are a much better defense than the 49ers, which will likely impact the scenarios in which Peterson can get the ball consistently. But no one has ruled out another 30 carries.
"I'm OK with it," offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said with a chuckle. "That means less passing, brother. He played long enough. He know when he needs to tap out, get a blow."
Peterson only asked out once in San Francisco. Tuesday was when he was most sore, he said, but insisted he was fine Wednesday. He understands why so many are wondering about his state of being after 37 carries.
"It's a short week, it's not surprising," Peterson said. "If they're talking about it (because) 'He's 32,' yes, it's surprising to me on that note."
In his career, Peterson has only had back-to-back games of at least 30 carries once. In 2013, He had 146 yards on 32 attempts in a tie against the Packers on Nov. 24, and he followed up with a 35-211 line against the Bears.
There was a week between those games, however, not the "battle of wills" Peterson predicted in a short-week game. Still, he's fine with 30 carries.
"If that's what it takes," Peterson said. "I'll just make sure my body is ready to roll. If it's 30, I'm all in for it. If it's 15 and that's what they give me, I'll make them the best 15 I have."
DEALING WITH RUSSELL WILSON
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher was asked the other day about using a "spy" on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
"A lot of people 'spy' him," Bettcher said. "You've got to be able to catch him."
The Cardinals, who have faced Wilson twice a season since he came into the NFL in 2012, know
what Wilson does. He not only is a dangerous down-the-field passer, he can do it on the run, winding his way around the backfield to avoid rushers until someone pops open.
"We pretty much understand what he is going to do," cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "We don't know when he's going to do it, but we know that at some point and time, he's going to buy time for his receivers. We just have to be ready for it. It's something you can't practice for. We just have to be disciplined."
Wilson, by the way, is also the Seahawks' leading rusher, with 271 yards, most of those on scrambles.
"The (pass) rush has to work with the coverage, and the coverage has got to save the rush on some downs," Bettcher said. "We're going to have to plaster, stay on our man, cover three, four, five seconds longer on a couple downs in this game."
Bettcher said the last thing the Cards will do is sit back and "mush rush" just to contain Wilson.
"I don't believe in that," Bettcher said. "We have not done that to this point on any quarterback. We will still be aggressive, but we are going to be smart and it's going to be coordinated."
CARDINALS HEALTHY BUT THOMAS DOUBTFUL FOR SEAHAWKS
Arians said every Cardinal on the roster would be available Thursday, an impressive development given the short week with which to prepare. Officially, wide receivers Brittan Golden (groin) and Chad Williams (back) are questionable, although Golden played last week with the same issue. (Williams is usually inactive anyway.)
The Seahawks are not as lucky. Guard Luke Joeckel (knee), running back Eddie Lacy (groin) and defensive end Marcus Smith (concussion) are all out, while star safety Earl Thomas (hamstring) is doubtful. Linebacker D.J. Alexander (ankle), wide receiver Paul Richardson (groin), defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (oblique) and cornerback Richard Sherman (Achilles) are all listed as questionable.
Images of the top players for this week's opponent, the Seattle Seahawks