Peterson primed for big day vs. Bears?

Adrian Peterson had one of his best days against the Chicago Bears, and this time the Bears defense is struggling to stop the run already and is missing many of their best players.

Some of Adrian Peterson's best games have come against the Chicago Bears.

About a month into his NFL career, Peterson put the league on notice with a 224-yard, three-touchdown performance at Chicago on 20 carries. He has five 100-yard games against the Bears.

So with a beat-up Bears defense coming to the Metrodome Sunday that is ranked dead last in the NFL in run defense, Peterson has to be feeling good about his prospects.

"I don't know. I don't really want to sit here and make any predictions," Peterson said. "I just want to contribute and do whatever it takes to help my team win. If that's 300 yards, perfect. If that's 150, perfect. Fifty with a hundred-and-something receiving – any way I can help my team get this W this weekend, that's pretty much all I'm worried about. I'm just going to go out there and play ball, and let the chips fall where they may."

Peterson was asked during his conference call with Bears reporters to clarify if he really said 300 yards. He laughed and requested that doesn't become a headline.

But the only time Peterson has come close to 300 yards was about a month after his 224-yard performance against the Bears in 2007. That was against the San Diego Chargers, when Peterson ran for the NFL single-game record of 296 yards. But he also remembers a record set against the Vikings that day, when Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown.

"What I remember about that day was Cromartie setting the record as well. I remember (after) the first drive, coming to the sideline and telling my offensive line, ‘Hey, we're going to have a great day. You guys keep pounding.' There were two plays that I had missed – I think I was impatient – that could have resulted in big runs," Peterson said.

"That first half I had 48, maybe 50 yards rushing and then the second half being so explosive and those guys up front just blocking their butts off. Everyone was dedicated to getting it done."

In one of those moments where a seemingly ordinary occurrence stands out in a person's memory, Peterson can still recall what he ate on the eve of his record-breaking performance.

"The night before I think I had some strawberry ice cream. I think that helped me out a lot," he said. "I might just get a bowl or two (this Saturday)."

These days, Peterson is dealing with a groin strain, but he is also coming off his best game of the season and now facing a Bears defense that has become awfully generous against the run. They have given up more than 120 yards rushing in each of the last six games, and more than 170 yards rushing in four of those.

Despite Peterson's 224-yard game the Bears in 2007, he has averaged more yards against the Green Bay Packers (117.7) than the Chicago Bears (107.7) and averages more yards per carry against the Packers (5.46) and Detroit Lions (5.35) than the Bears (4.88). He also has more rushing touchdowns against the Detroit Lions (35) than the Bears (24), the top two in that category for Peterson.

But he was on a roll last week, carrying 32 times for 146 yards and just might be ready to try a repeat of last year, when he started December by rushing for more than 200 yards in two of his first three games of the month, starting with Green Bay (210) and followed by Chicago (154).

This time for Chicago, there is no Lance Briggs, the Bears' best linebacker sidelined with a fractured shoulder, no Brian Urlacher, who retired during the offseason, and no Charles Tillman, who is on injured reserve/designated to return.

"It's very unusual. Those guys are definitely durable and play through injuries, so you know when those guys are out that it's something serious," Peterson said. "It's going to be different out there Sunday without those guys on the field."

In Peterson's case, different could be good.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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