Vince Wilfork has been around a long time but it doesn't take 11 years of experience to understand how opponents will react to what they saw out of the Patriots defense in the opener. Wilfork knows the Vikings are aware of how Miami carved up the New England front to the tune of 191 rushing yards, and he knows what to expect in Minnesota come Sunday.
"This is a team that's going to stick with their running game," Wilfork said of the Vikings. "After last week why wouldn't you? It's a good, good challenge for us. I'm happy we're getting this challenge again. Going from the first week and having people moving the ball on us successfully and coming back with one of the best backs in the game gives us a chance to step our game up and show that we can be a pretty good defense. We welcome the challenge and I'm very excited about it and I have all the confidence in the world we can get things fixed and hopefully it will show on Sunday."
Of course that task will be made more difficult due to the presence of one of the game's best backs in Adrian Peterson. Few ball carriers combine the physical nature and ability to hit the long ball like Peterson, who is just a year removed from a 2,000-yard season.
"[I remember] how hard he ran the ball," Wilfork said when asked about the team's last meeting, which came on Halloween 2010 in Foxborough. That game marked the return of Randy Moss, who was dealt to the Vikings just weeks earlier, but it also featured some stout play by the Patriots defense. Peterson picked up 92 yards on 25 punishing carries and was held to 3.7 yards per rush with a long of 9.
Wilfork understands that things will need to improve if the Patriots are going to keep Peterson similarly in check, and it all starts up front.
"The hardest thing is everybody being on the same page," he began. "You might get one guy or two guys that might overplay a gap and that can cost you. A good back will find that and Peterson will find that. He's one of the best backs in the game. I'm pretty sure we'll have some type of zone runs that we'll have to be ready for.
"We understand the mistakes we've made and getting off to a good start in practice this week, we've made some adjustments and hopefully it'll work for us. We came to work two days now on the Vikings and it's starting to come together. We have one more day to get everything nailed down to make sure we have everything to feel good going into the game. If it's anything like the last couple of days we'll be in good shape."