The Vikings know what works on offense and that's running Adrian Peterson. He ran a season-high 29 times for a season-high 122 yards, but the Vikings have a run-first philosophy this year, as the stats show. We dig into that and provide more than 20 game notes.
In a season where record numbers are being posted throughout the league in passing, the Vikings are the only team in the league through five games with more yards rushing (800) than passing (779).
Their play selection Sunday reflected it, lopsided in favor of the running game. Of the 59 offensive plays, 37 of them were rushes. For the season, the Vikings have run 292 plays on offense – 149 rushing plays and 142 passing plays.
had a big game with 29 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns – all in the first quarter. He now had 498 rushing yards through five games.
Sunday was the 48th time Peterson has led the team in yards from scrimmage, breaking a record he had shared with Vikings great Chuck Foreman. He also tied another Foreman record by scoring multiple touchdowns for the 14th time in his career.
Peterson also moved into seventh place on the team's all-time list of yards from scrimmage with 4,899, passing Ted Brown (7,396). Next up on A.D.'s hit list is Anthony Carter (7,499).
With his big efforts, Peterson is supplanting legends of the NFL, not just the Vikings. His three touchdowns give him 58 for his career. With his performance, he passed Jim Brown (57) and Earl Campbell (57) for most touchdowns in the first five years of an NFL career and moved into a tie with Terrell Davis (58). He needs just one more to tie Walter Payton (59), is three behind Eric Dickerson (61) and four behind Shaun Alexander (62). It will be a tall order to get to the top of the list, which is headed by LaDainian Tomlinson (72) and Emmitt Smith (71).
GAME DAY NOTES
The Vikings had a different look in the secondary to start the game. With Antoine Winfield out Sunday and Cedric Griffin not in the starting the lineup, Asher Allen and Chris Cook started at cornerback.
The Vikings outgained the Cardinals 332-291. The Vikings had 172 yards rushing and 160 yards passing, while Arizona had 214 yards passing and 77 yards rushing.
The Vikings run defense put in another strong day, holding Beanie Wells and the Cardinals to just 77 yards rushing on 24 carries. For the year, the Vikings have allowed opponents just 3.3 yards a carry.
Wells came into the game leading NFL with five rushing TDs. Peterson passed him in first quarter. Wells would score Arizona's only touchdown, leaving them tied with six TDs apiece.
Jared Allen recorded two more sacks, giving him 8.5 for the season. He has at least one sack in each of his last seven games, tying him for third all-time in franchise history. Chris Doleman had a seven-game streak twice. The team record of eight straight games is shared by Jim Marshall and Carl Eller.
Ryan Longwell tied his career best for consecutive field goals made with 16 before missing a kick in the second half. However, he moved into fourth place in franchise history with 568 points, passing Randy Moss (564). He is 30 points behind Fuad Reveiz for third place.
Longwell scored his 200th extra point as a Viking and finished the game with 202 PATs.
In the fourth quarter, Longwell hit a 53-yard field goal, his first field goal of 50+ yards since November 2009.
Punter Chris Kluwe played in his 100th game as a Viking, becoming just the second punter in franchise history to reach that milestone (Greg Coleman is the all-time leader at 138 games).
Jamarca Sanford got his first career interception Sunday and followed it up with his second interception in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings didn't commit a penalty until the third quarter. Coming into the game, the Vikings had the third-most penalties (33) in the league.
Peterson hit the 100 yard mark on the first drive of third quarter, but then lost it with a pair of 1-yard losses. He didn't top 100 yards again until the second play of the fourth quarter.
Peterson had 86 of the Vikings' 162 yards at halftime, all on the ground. Both he and Wells had 13 carries in the first half, but Peterson ran for 86 yards and Wells managed just 34.
Thanks to a huge first quarter, the Vikings have now outscored their opponents 89-19 in the first half. They have been outscored 87-20 after halftime, but despite having a 1-4 record, have outscored their opponents (111-106).
In one of the more inexplicable moves of the season, in the final two minutes of the first half, the Cardinals called two timeouts on defense after the Vikings picked up first downs, which made little to no sense given the circumstances.
The 28 points scored by the Vikings in the first quarter tied a franchise record. The only other time the Vikings got off to such an explosive start was Sept. 28, 1986, when the Vikings scored 28 first-quarter points against the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings haven't trailed in first half at home all season.
Marcus Sherels had a huge first quarter for the Vikings, helping set up their first score with a pair of big punt returns of 23 and 21 yards. Since taking over the punt return duties, he has been electric, averaging 15.2 yards per return this season.
Donovan McNabb's first pass was low and incomplete, which got the crowd booing loudly – something that rarely stopped. In fact, the crowd booed McNabb when he took a knee at the end of the game and booed him lustily throughout.
Prior to the game, members of the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx were introduced to a huge ovation from the fans. Their rookie star, Maya Moore, said that they hope to bring some luck to the Vikings.
"The fans in Minnesota are great," Moore said. "The Vikings have got off to a tough start, but we hope they can get it going here and keep the winning going on in Minnesota."
Among those taking photos with the Lynx players was University of Minnesota men's basketball coach Tubby Smith, who sounded the ceremonial Gjallarhorn.
The attendance was 62,479, the 139th straight sellout at the Metrodome/Mall of America Field.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.