Vikings effectively riding Peterson

With 55 carries in the last two weeks, the Vikings have relied heavily on running back Adrian Peterson, and the star has been a big part of their two-game winning streak and renewed hope.

The Vikings' offense has turned into the Adrian Peterson show the past two weeks. The Pro Bowl running back had 139 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown in a 28-21 victory over Houston two weeks ago and was even better last Sunday as the Vikings edged Green Bay, 28-27.

Peterson nearly willed the Vikings to victory, rushing for a season-high 192 yards on 30 carries and adding three receptions for 33 yards. He saved his best for last, gaining all but five of the Vikings' 69 yards on a drive late in the fourth quarter that ended with Peterson going 29 yards for the score.

The two consecutive wins have moved the Vikings into a first-place tie with Chicago in the NFC North. They will try to keep that momentum going Sunday as they play the first of two in Florida.

The Vikings will open the road swing at Tampa Bay before facing the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 23. Minnesota has lost in its past five trips to Tampa Bay and will get a tough test against the 6-3 Buccaneers.

The reality is that the Vikings probably need a split of these next two before returning home to face the Bears on Nov. 30 in a key divisional game. That one figures to be of the utmost importance, given that Chicago not only is tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North but also beat Minnesota at Soldier Field.

A sweep of the season series would go a long way toward helping Chicago to the division title.

There was little doubt how emotional the Vikings' victory over the Packers proved to be. Minnesota rebounded from a third-quarter meltdown to end Green Bay's five-game winning streak in the series and give coach Brad Childress his first victory over the Packers.

Childress, though, dismissed the thought that he would need to get his team to refocus.

"You look at it as a professional," he said. "You enjoy it. The fun in this business is winning, but we'll go right back to work. ... Every week stands on its own merit. I see it as more of a challenge from the standpoint that we're going on the road, into a hostile environment against a team that's had a bye. (They're) a good football team."

The Buccaneers, like most of the Vikings' opponents, figure to get a steady dose of Peterson with a little bit of passing thrown into the mix.

Peterson leads the NFL with 1,015 yards rushing and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry with seven touchdowns. The Buccaneers rush defense is ranked 11th in the NFL, giving up 99.3 yards per game.

Peterson now has six 100-yard rushing performances in nine games, with four coming at home and two on the road. Tampa Bay will look to keep it that way.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12 - Games in which running back Adrian Peterson has rushed for 100-plus yards in his 23 career games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We need to hydrate. We're already on a hydration kick (from the) postgame. They're hydrating as we speak." - Vikings coach Brad Childress when asked if there are any adjustments his team needs to make as it gets set to head to Sundays' game in Tampa Bay after playing two games at home.

SERIES HISTORY: 51st regular-season meeting. The Vikings lead the series, 31-19, but the Buccaneers have won the past three meetings overall and the past five at home. The Vikings haven't won at Raymond James Stadium.

NOTES

  • DE Jared Allen was limited in practice Wednesday because of a shoulder sprain. Allen, however, played through the grade-sprain of the AC joint in his right shoulder last Sunday against Green Bay and is expected to do the same this week in Tampa Bay.

  • CB Charles Gordon went to Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday to see a foot specialist and is expected to have surgery soon on his injured left ankle. Gordon has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken ankle and ligament damage on a punt return Sunday against Green Bay.

  • LB Chad Greenway leads the Vikings with 87 tackles through nine games and has led the team in tackles in five games.

  • RB Adrian Peterson was named the NFC offensive player of the week for the third time in his career after rushing for 192 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries Sunday against the Packers. He also had three catches for 33 yards and scored the winning touchdown with 2:22 left on a 29-yard run.

  • S Madieu Williams was limited in practice Wednesday after suffering a "dinged" shoulder during the special-teams portion of practice earlier in the day. Williams received treatment while his teammates went through drills.


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