In the Vikings' two games prior to the bye week – losses to Kansas City and Green Bay – Brad Childress was loudly (and justifiably) criticized for not allowing Adrian Peterson to be a difference maker.
While Childress tried to limit some of Peterson's action in a heart-pounding 34-31 win over the Bears, he gave Peterson just enough touches and it paid huge dividends, as Peterson provided four huge plays for the Vikings the set them up to win on each occasion.
The first came with less than three minutes to play in the first half. Trailing 14-7, Childress brought out Chester Taylor to start the drive. He converted a first down with 3:30 to play in the half, but after slipping on his next carry, Childress brought in Peterson and called for another run. If Peterson pops one, the Vikings call a timeout and go after the Bears. If he doesn't, they let the clock roll to the 2-minute warning. Instead, Peterson took a carry to the left and, when it appears he'd be taken down for a 10-yard gain, he cut the run back to the right and found open field. He raced 67 yards for a touchdown, went over 100 yards in the first half for the second straight game and tied the game 14-14.
In the third quarter with the game still tied 14-14, Taylor again came out to open the drive and gains two yards. The Vikings converted a first down and Peterson came into the game. With the ball on the Vikings 27 and the Bears looking for a run, Peterson accelerated through a hole and went 73 yards for another touchdown to give the Vikings a 21-14 lead – a lead they would never fully give up.
After a Robbie Gould field goal cut the Vikings' lead to 24-17, the Vikings drove back down the field and were at the Bears 35-yard line facing a second-and-13. Feeling they need about five more yards to give Ryan Longwell the comfort zone he needs for a field goal to give the Vikings a two-score lead, Taylor came out after a 2-yard run and Peterson went in. He took a pitch to the left sideline that the Bears pursued, but Peterson hit a second gear and broke a run down the sideline for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 31-17 lead that seemed to be a death blow.
Following the Bears' amazing comeback in the final three minutes, Peterson was asked to carry the team one more time. On the previous kickoff, it appeared Childress didn't want to expose Peterson to undue potential for injury. He replaced him on the kick return team with Troy Williamson, but with the game tied, the decision was made to let A.P. try his magic again. The result? He took the kickoff straight up the middle, built up a head of steam and wasn't brought down until he got the Bears 38-yard line – a 53-yard return to put the Vikings in business. That effort allowed the Vikings to try to play conservative and, while it didn't work, it was still close enough for Ryan Longwell to bomb a 55-yard field goal as time expired to give the Vikings a 34-31 win.
When the Vikings drafted Peterson, the rationale for the decision was that the offense needed playmakers. On four plays, Peterson gained the Vikings 228 yards. Those four plays resulted in 21 points, making "All Day" an obvious catalyst for the Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: Four Peterson Plays
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