The Vikings' two prime-time games have thrust them into the national media spotlight, something the players can savor late in the season.
The Vikings suddenly have become a hot item with the national media.
Already scheduled to play host to the Chicago Bears
on Monday night, the NFL announced it has moved the Vikings-Redskins match-up on Dec. 23 to prime time on NBC under its flexible scheduling policy.
Minnesota (7-6) will carry a four-game winning streak into the Bears contest and will then meet Washington (6-7) at the Metrodome in a game that could impact the NFC playoff picture. Right now, the Vikings hold the final wild-card spot.
Vikings coach Brad Childress knows that playing in prime time is good for his players, especially if they are going to ready themselves for the pressure of playing in the postseason.
"I think it's good that they all realize that they have a chance to have their peers watching, and you always want recognition by your peers and how you get that is by playing well as a team first of all and then as an individual," Childress said.
In addition to getting a game that could help shape the NFC playoff picture, NBC also will get a chance to showcase Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson
. Peterson has not played a game under the lights yet this season but now will have two such opportunities in the next two weeks.
QB Tarvaris Jackson completed 16 of 25 passes for 163 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 95.9 rating as the Vikings cruised to a 27-7 victory over San Francisco. Jackson was especially sharp in the first half, throwing for 115 yards as the Vikings jumped to a 27-0 lead.
RB Adrian Peterson had a day to forget against the 49ers, running for a season-low three yards on 14 carries. Peterson's previous low in his standout rookie season was a 45-yard effort on Nov. 11 against Green Bay. Peterson was forced from that game early because of a knee injury. He missed two games and then returned on Dec. 2 against Detroit when he went for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
RB Chester Taylor ran for 101 yards on eight carries, including an 84-yard touchdown in the victory over San Francisco. He also caught three passes for 23 yards. Taylor has been under the radar much of this season because of how well Peterson has played but still has two 100-yard performances and, perhaps most important, hasn't pouted about his use.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe caught two passes for 11 yards against the 49ers and was unable to hang onto a pass in the end zone on a nice throw from Jackson.
WR Sidney Rice had only two receptions for 21 yards Sunday but still appears to be the Vikings' best bet as far as a go-to receiver. Rice is the only Vikings receiver with more than one touchdown catch. The rookie has four on the season.
WR Robert Ferguson caught a team-leading four passes for 57 yards and a 19-yard touchdown in the victory over San Francisco. It was Ferguson's first touchdown as a Viking.
WR Bobby Wade caught three passes for 25 yards against the 49ers. Wade has a team-leading 40 receptions this season.
WR Aundrae Allison was active on Sunday and caught one pass for 14 yards. Unfortunately for Allison, he fumbled the ball as the Vikings turned over the ball. Allison also was used on kickoff returns but only had one run back for 22 yards.
WR Troy Williamson was inactive for the second consecutive game and the fourth time this season. Williamson suffered a concussion two weeks ago against the New York Giants but most likely could have played against the 49ers. It's looking more and more like this could be Williamson's last season with the Vikings.
DT Kevin Williams broke Chris Doleman's franchise mark for a Vikings defensive lineman with his fourth career interception. Williams, who returned an interception for a touchdown only 14 seconds into Sunday's game, also has four career takeaway touchdowns (two interceptions, two fumble recoveries). That is the most career touchdowns by a Vikings defensive lineman and equals a mark held by six other players.
LB Chad Greenway had a team-leading 11 tackles against the 49ers and also had a quarterback hurry. Greenway has been solid much of the season but clearly has made strides to improve in the second half.
CB Antoine Winfield returned after missing four of the past five games because of a hamstring injury. Winfield tied for second on the Vikings with six tackles against the 49ers and said he felt fine afterward.
CB Marcus McCauley was relegated to special teams after starting four of the past five games in place of Winfield. McCauley was the Vikings' nickel back early in the season but lost that job to Charles Gordon.