TAMPA — Did a Bucs linebacker try to intentionally hurt Vikings RB Adrian Peterson when the teams played Nov. 16?
That's what Peterson told reporters this week.
"I was being stood up by three or four defenders, and the guy just came out of nowhere and intentionally went for my leg," Peterson said. "I felt it, and I watched it over and over again.
"He intentionally went for my leg and tried to take me out. It was by the grace of God that my foot wasn't stuck in the grass and was able to give. I looked at that play and really started thinking that, 'Hey, whether you believe it or not, guys are out there trying to take you out. So you got to be smarter and protect yourself.' "
Peterson did not name the player, other than to say his jersey number was in the 50s and that he was ''flexing" after the play. All six Bucs defensive players with numbers in the 50s are linebackers. None was available for comment.
In talking with the media about the Vikings' game this weekend at Arizona, Peterson was responding to questions about his effort to gain extra yardage on every play and the risk of injury.
"Some guys are really out there to hurt you," the second-year player said. "I found that out in that game.
"It was a play where I was being held up and the whistle was blown. I wasn't going anywhere and I just kept fighting for yards, and a guy that wasn't in the play just came in and dove straight for my knee and tried to take me out. It is really about being smart. I have learned a lot and took heed of that."
Win and you may be in: Coach Jon Gruden said his team should continue to focus on earning a playoff spot. The Bucs can clinch a postseason berth with a win over Atlanta and a loss by Philadelphia or Dallas.
"Making the tournament is a great accomplishment," he said. "We've got to take care of business. We've got to win a game. We haven't had a two-game losing streak this season. We want to maintain that.
"It's very important that we bounce back from a loss. I think that's what good teams do. We've got some injuries here that are concerning. Possibly, some guys are going to have to step up. But our goal is always to make the tournament. That gives you a chance to win the Super Bowl if you're in the tournament."
Injury report: DT Jovan Haye (knee), DT Chris Hovan (knee) and WR Michael Clayton (toe) were limited during practice.