Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson had the worst rushing performance of his career, and the 49ers sold out at times in order to pressure him behind the line of scrimmage. Was it a blueprint for future opponents?
The Vikings were able to extend their winning streak to four games on Sunday with a 27-7 victory over San Francisco, but they did it without a consistent contribution from the NFL's top-ranked rushing game.
Take away Chester Taylor
's 84-yard touchdown scamper and the Vikings had 33 yards on 30 carries, or an average of 1.1 yards per attempt. That is 4.5 yards below their season average.
Minnesota's troubles on the ground were due in large part to the fact rookie sensation Adrian Peterson
managed only 3 yards on 14 carries and had a long gain of 4 yards. Peterson's lowest output before that was a 45-yard effort on Nov. 11 at Green Bay.
Peterson left in the third quarter of that game because of a slightly torn ligament in his right knee. He missed two games but returned Dec. 2 against Detroit and rushed for 116 yards on 15 attempts.
The 49ers had success against the Vikings ground game in part because they consistently sent cornerbacks on blitzes, enabling them to get into the backfield quickly.
Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked if other teams will attempt to copy this or if the 49ers personnel, and the fact San Francisco has a standout like Nate Clements
, makes them unique.
"Everybody has a corner blitz package of some version," Childress said. "This is a group that is going to give you a double corner blitz on the same snap. We see that a handful of times during the course of the year. Some people aren't that bold that they're going to do that. They started on the first play of the game. We had seen it as it went back, but they were going to use that guy as the eighth guy and sometimes the ninth guy to be there off of the edge."
There is little doubt the Chicago Bears
, whom the Vikings will face Monday night, have taken note of the 49ers success in that area.
NT Pat Williams was one of the most outspoken Vikings when it came to his team's 9-3 loss at San Francisco in 2006. Needless to say, he was quite pleased with Sunday's 27-7 victory at Monster Park. "It made up for it," Williams said. "This was all a business trip. From the time we got off the plane, it was all about doing what we have to do."
RB Chester Taylor has spent much of this season in the background as a result of Adrian Peterson's outstanding rookie season. But the Taylor-Peterson combination is one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL. "It's great to have that kind of depth," Taylor said. "If one gets tired and has to go out of the game, the other comes in and you don't miss a step. Maybe they were keying a bit on Peterson, but as you saw, there's more to our offense than just one man."
WR Robert Ferguson, who caught his first touchdown pass as a Viking on Sunday in San Francisco, on the development of QB Tarvaris Jackson: "Tarvaris is gaining more confidence, and we're gaining more confidence in him. People think we have a good running game, and we do, but we show that we are not one-dimensional. Tarvaris has been making huge strides."
S Mike Doss did not play Sunday against San Francisco after injuring his hamstring the previous week against Detroit.
CB Charles Gordon injured his quadriceps against the 49ers but was able to continue.
OL Artis Hicks was inactive for Sunday's game because of back trouble that started last Thursday.
DE Brian Robison injured his hip against the 49ers but was able to continue.
S Tank Williams missed a second consecutive game Sunday because of a sprained MCL.
WR Troy Williamson continues to suffer from headaches, the effects of a concussion suffered two weeks ago. Williamson hasn't played in the past two games, and the Vikings will consult with a neurologist this week.