Peterson a Salve for Ailing Vikings

With a 3-5 record, the Vikings are nowhere close to where they'd like to be, but at least they have an exciting running back to keep things interesting and give them a chance in every game.

This might not be a very good season for the Vikings, but it's becoming clear with each passing week that it certainly is going to be interesting.

The team and its fans can thank running back Adrian Peterson for that being the case.

The rookie sensation, finally turned loose as the unquestioned No. 1 runner on the team, is proving that it is possible to be a one-man show in the National Football League.

For those who missed that fact when Peterson rushed for a then-team-record 224 yards on Oct. 14 in Chicago, he provided further evidence last Sunday when he set the NFL single-game record by running for 296 yards in a come-from-behind 35-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

Can Peterson become the first NFL back to top the 300-yard mark in a game? Will the Green Bay Packers be able to contain him Sunday at Lambeau Field?

These are the type of questions that at least make the 3-5 Vikings interesting to watch.

Keep in mind, this is a team that essentially has little to no passing game and whose starting quarterback could miss a start for the fourth time in nine games this season because of injury.

Tarvaris Jackson missed two games because of a strained groin, returned to start two more and then sat out Oct. 28 against Philadelphia because of a broken index finger on his throwing (right) hand.

Jackson's latest setback was a concussion suffered late in the second quarter against the Chargers. If Jackson doesn't start, Brooks Bollinger will get the nod after playing well in back-to-back relief performances.

Bollinger's top priority won't be too difficult — put the ball in Peterson's hands. After resisting the temptation to make Peterson his workhorse running back, coach Brad Childress seems to have finally realized that not only is Peterson such a special talent that he can reach 2,000 yards this season but he also can save Childress' job.

Against the Chargers, Peterson was handed the ball 30 times, compared to nine carries for Chester Taylor. Until a few weeks ago, Childress had been starting Taylor and trying to get both his running backs an equal distribution of work.

That was the case when the Vikings and Packers met for the first time this season on Sept. 30. Green Bay won the game, 23-16, and Peterson carried 12 times for 112 yards; Taylor had eight attempts for 40 yards.

Rest assured, the workload won't be the same this time around Sunday when these teams meet at Lambeau Field.


  • The Metrodome might be considered one of the worst facilities in the NFL, but some impressive records have been set in the building. This season alone, three marks have fallen: Packers quarterback Brett Favre threw touchdown pass No. 421 to break Dan Marino's career record; Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field-goal attempt 109 yards for a touchdown Sunday, making it the longest play in league history; and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson rushed for an NFL single-game record 296 yards against the Chargers.

  • Those three join one other memorable Metrodome moment. The longest run from scrimmage in NFL history occurred in the building when Dallas running back Tony Dorsett went 99 yards for a touchdown in a 31-27 loss to the Vikings on Jan. 3, 1983.

  • The Vikings are 22-24-1 at Green Bay (6-9 in Milwaukee) but have won two of the past three at Lambeau Field. This included a 31-17 playoff victory by the Vikings during the 2004 season.

  • Before Green Bay's victory over the Vikings this season, the previous 10 meetings between these teams had been incredibly even with a combined score of 239-239 between the two. Including the first game of 2007, the combined score of the past 12 games is 286-283 in favor of Minnesota.

  • Bud Grant's first victory as the Vikings coach was a 10-7 decision over the Packers on Oct. 15, 1967 in Milwaukee. The win came after the Vikings started 0-4 under Grant.

  • These teams have gone to overtime five times and played to a tie once. That was a 10-10 final on Nov. 26, 1978 at Lambeau Field. The five overtime games are the most by the Vikings against any opponent.

  • Vikings safety Darren Sharper, who spent his first eight seasons with the Packers (1997-2004), has one interception against former teammate Brett Favre in five games since joining Minnesota. That came on Dec. 21, 2006 in a 9-7 Packers victory.

  • CB Ronyell Whitaker was released to make room for QB Koy Detmer.

  • LT Bryant McKinnie did not practice Wednesday because of inflammation in his knee.

  • CB Antoine Winfield, who missed last Sunday's game because of a hamstring injury, was limited in practice Wednesday.

  • QB Kelly Holcomb returned to practice but was limited because of a neck injury suffered Oct. 28 against Philadelphia.

  • QB Tarvaris Jackson was limited in practice Wednesday after suffering a concussion on Sunday against San Diego.

  • WR Sidney Rice was limited in practice Wednesday because of a sore hamstring.

  • WR Bobby Wade was limited in practice Wednesday because of a hyper-extended knee that kept him out of most of last week in practice.

  • RT Ryan Cook was limited in practice because of a shoulder injury. Cook played through the injury last Sunday.

  • WR Troy Williamson returned to the team after being away for a week because of the death of his grandmother.

  • RB Mewelde Moore very well could remain as the primary punt returner after averaging 14.8 yards on four returns with a long of 42 yards Sunday. Wade had held the job but was replaced against the Chargers because he was suffering from a knee injury.

  • WR Aundrae Allison was active for only the second time in five games last Sunday in large part because Williamson was absent and Wade was hurting. Allison returned kicks and averaged 40 yards on two run backs, including a long of 62 yards.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 253 — Yards that Peterson rushed for on 17 second-half carries in last Sunday's victory over San Diego. His teammate and 2006 1,000-yard rusher Chester Taylor has 267 yards on 58 attempts all season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can't remember him playing any better than he's playing right now. Some of the throws he's making, I just hope he tries that against us. Those 50-yard balls over the middle of the field, we'll see how much success he has." — Vikings safety Darren Sharper, talking about former teammate Brett Favre.

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