While the rest of the Vikings offense continues to struggle – whether because of new schemes, poor execution or mismatched personnel – rookie Adrian Peterson hasn't let that taint his entrance into the NFL. Plus, get more than 30 notes that help paint the picture of a 13-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Vikings-Chiefs game wasn't hyped as a battle of superstar running backs. Quite simply, most people haven't seen Adrian Peterson
yet – "yet" being the operative word. In a game that was expected by many to be a battle of Larry Johnson
and the Vikings defense, Peterson did his part to make it very difficult for Brad Childress to sit him down. With Chester Taylor
again on the inactive list, the onus of the running game for both teams was centered on Johnson and Peterson.
For the game, Peterson had 25 carries, while Johnson had 24 for the Chiefs. But what they did with those carries is what made the difference in their performance. Peterson did his part for the Vikings, rushing for 102 yards – becoming the first player in 23 games at Arrowhead Stadium to top 100 yards rushing. Considering that the Broncos and Chargers come into Kansas City every year, that's saying something. On the flip side, Johnson gained just 42 yards on 24 carries.
The injury concerns that dogged Peterson prior to this year's draft haven't seemed to be a problem thus far and some have speculated that Chester Taylor's injury could make him the football equivalent to Wally Pipp – the Yankees first baseman who was hurt and sat out a game, letting Lou Gehrig start what would be an iron man streak of games played.
While the loss drops the Vikings to 1-2 and makes their home game next week with unbeaten Green Bay critical to staying afloat in the NFC North, we may have witnessed the official A.P. coming-out party. If the Vikings are going to be competitive offensively, it's becoming clear that Peterson can be the guy that leads the way.
The Vikings held a 252-251 yardage edge, but had just 6 more yards passing (129) than rushing (123).
Converting third downs continues to be a problem for the Vikings. Sunday they made good on just four of 15 third-down chances – 2 of 8 in the first half and 2 of 7 in the second half.
Johnson was completely shut down, rushing 24 times for 42 yards – including just 17 yards on 11 carries in the second half.
In the second half, the Chiefs relied on their passing game. Tony Gonzalez, who had just one touch for 14 yards in the first half, had six catches for 82 yards in the second half. Dwayne Bowe, who was shut out in the first half, had five catches for 71 yards after halftime.
After catching just two passes for 18 yards in the first two games, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe led the Vikings with three catches for 51 yards Sunday.
Bobby Wade is the Vikings' leading receiver through three games with 10 receptions.
Peterson not only has dominated the Vikings' rushing attack with 271 of the team's 395 yards rushing, but he also leads the team in receiving yardage with 160.
The Vikings wished the league hadn't commuted the suspension of Chiefs DE Jared Allen. He had a monster day with eight tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and batted pass.
Three Vikings – Ben Leber, Chad Greenway and Kenechi Udeze – each had eight tackles to lead the Vikings.
Chris Kluwe continued his excellent start to the season. He averaged 48 yards on six punts, including a career-best 70-yarder. He also pinned three kicks inside the 20.
When the Chiefs scored their lone touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter to take the eventual game-winning lead at 13-10, it was the first time all season that the Chiefs have had a led in a game this year.
The Chiefs had more penalties (10) than the Vikings (6) and two of them came on delay-of-game calls for spiking the ball after a play – a new point of emphasis for NFL officials.
The Vikings might want to re-think having Aundrae Allison returning kickoffs. He was pinned inside his own 20 twice and ran tentatively to put the Vikings offense in a bad position.
Peterson showed some of his value in the second half when the Vikings picked up one of their few third-down conversions – picking up a blitzing linebacker to give Kelly Holcomb more time in the pocket to throw and find Sidney Rice for a completion and a conversion.
At one point in the third quarter, Larry Johnson had just 19 yards on 16 rushing attempts.
The first reception of the game by a Kansas City wide receiver didn't come until 8:20 remained in the third quarter.
At halftime, the Vikings dominated the statistical department. They outgained the Chiefs 139-51 (those numbers would flip-flop to a 200-112 edge for the Chiefs in the second half). The Vikings held a passing yardage edge of 43-27 and ran 16 times for 66 yards, as opposed to just 24 yards on 17 carries for Kansas City.
Individually in the first half, Holcomb was 7 of 10 for 103 yards, while Peterson ran 14 times for 56 yards and caught two passes for 43 yards to lead the team in both categories.
For the Chiefs in the first half, Johnson had just 25 yards on 13 carries and tight end Kris Wilson was the leading receiver with three catches for just 13 yards.
A little of Holcomb's rust showed on a play in which the Vikings should have had an easy touchdown in the first half. Robert Ferguson, who didn't catch a pass in the game, was wide open on a deep route to the end zone – with no defender within 10 yards of him. But Holcomb overthrew the pass for an incompletion.
The Vikings also blew a scoring chance late in the first half. With two timeouts remaining and in Kansas City territory, the Vikings let 25 seconds tick off the clock and, forced to pass to get into field goal range, Holcomb was sacked to kill the drive.
When Gonzalez caught his only pass of the first half, it was the 102nd straight game in which he has caught at least one pass.
In the first half, the Vikings replaced right guard Artis Hicks with Anthony Herrera. Hicks later returned to the game.
The Vikings appeared to have been jobbed by the referees on an apparent touchdown pass from Mewelde Moore to Shiancoe. The pass was ruled an incompletion, but TV replay appeared to show that Shiancoe got his elbow under the ball and tucked it in for a touchdown. But the officials ruled that their call of incomplete would stand.
The Chiefs didn't pick up a first down until the final play of the first quarter.
Two of Ryan Longwell's three kickoffs went into the end zone – a testament to the offseason conditioning program he has undertaken to improve his kick distance.
Peterson had 40 yards in the first quarter, including three carries for 33 yards on the Vikings' only scoring drive of the game.
No team had more three-and-out drives than the Chiefs this season and they lived up to that reputation by going three-and-out on their first three possessions of the game.
Huard is now 11-6 as a starter and 7-0 when starting at Arrowhead Stadium.
Sunday marked Pat Williams' 100th career start.
It was something of a surprise to see the Chiefs in the home red uniforms because the gametime temperature was 89 degrees and humid.
The Vikings have lost their last seven games against AFC opponents. Their last win came over Cleveland in the 2005 season.