The NFL’s leading rusher, Adrian Peterson, again carried the Vikings to victory over the Atlanta Falcons 20-10. It was the Vikings’ sixth win in their last seven games, and they have regained sole possession of first place in the NFC North. The Packers, now 7-4, are a game back after losing to the Bears on Thanksgiving.
The Vikings are 8-3 and return home Sunday at high noon to play Seattle, the NFC defending champions. Are the Vikings playoff contenders? Absolutely!
With that rugged 9th-rated defense, the Vikings are in every game. Only one team has scored 30 points on this Vikings defense — that’s Green Bay in last week’s 30-13 setback.
Peterson ran for 158 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns. He is moving up the NFL all-time rushing list. Since 2007, Peterson’s rookie season, he has run for 11,354 yards and 94 touchdowns. Sunday Peterson passed three all-time greats — Corey Dillon, O.J. Simpson and John Riggins — for 18th place all-time.
Peterson, with 1,164 yards, also is now fourth all-time with 18 games of 150 yards rushing or more in his career. Only Barry Sanders (25), Jim Brown (22), and Walter Payton (20) are ahead of Peterson, and they are all in the Hall of Fame.
With five games left and the Vikings leading the NFC North, Peterson is on fire. At age 30 he is gaining momentum with every carry. That means he’s doing exactly what the Vikings need him to do. Peterson has eight touchdowns so far this season, and the Vikings have eight wins. Is that coincidence?
Peterson needs 10 rushing touchdowns to join Emmitt Smith (eight) and LaDainian Tomlinson (nine) as the only players in NFL history to rush for 10 touchdowns in at least eight different seasons. The Vikings have games the next two weeks against 2014 playoff teams Seattle (6-5) and their famous Legion of Boom defense, and 9-2 Arizona in prime time Thursday, December 10.
The Vikings are hot, and they are in a position to answer everybody’s questions about their legitimacy. Stay tuned.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to email@example.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.