The Vikings opened Sunday's game against the Bears with a play they call "34 Doctor."
It's an ordinary play, but in the hands of an extraordinary running back such as Adrian Peterson it can and did become a 51-yard tone-setter that the Vikings rode to a 21-14 victory at Mall of America Field.
" 'Doctor' is just smash-mouth football at its best," right guard Brandon Fusco said. "It's a bread-and-butter play for us."
The Vikings had first-and-10 from their 20 on the game's first play from scrimmage. The Bears had six players on the line of scrimmage and nine in the box. The Vikings countered with three tight ends to block the edge and a plan for right tackle Phil Loadholt to block down and help Fusco double-team nose tackle Matt Toeaina.
"All we have to do is give Adrian a little crease," Loadholt said. "He's always telling us, 'Just give me that little crease.' "
When Loadholt blocked down on Toeaina, he was able to wall off linebacker Lance Briggs inside as well. That became a key block when tight end John Carlson was able to hook block linebacker Geno Hayes, creating a lane for Peterson to run through. Rookie tight end Rhett Ellison took care of middle linebacker Nick Roach, who was starting in place of the injured Brian Urlacher.
"I didn't know for sure if [Hayes] was going to get hooked, but on this particular play he did," Peterson said. "I'm reading it out. My eyes go from [the end] to the tackle."
It was outstanding blocking that left Peterson one on one with safety Chris Conte. Peterson stiff-armed Conte to the ground and took off before finally being run out of bounds by Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman.
"That's the definition of starting fast," quarterback Christian Ponder said. "The guy is unbelievable."
Peterson went on to set a franchise record for most yards in the first quarter. He had 104, breaking his own mark of 96 set Nov. 4 at Seattle.
The Vikings ran 15 first-quarter plays, and Peterson carried the ball on 12 of them. He also had both touchdowns on a pair of 1-yard runs as the Vikings led 14-0.
That's not easy. Not when every defense is designed specifically to stop Peterson.
"It's all willpower," Peterson said. "They pretty much know we're going to run the ball."
Peterson finished with 154 yards on a career-high 31 carries. He extended his franchise record for most consecutive 100-yard games to seven. In those seven games, he has run for 1,101 yards, an average of 157.3 per game.
Peterson has a league-high 1,600 yards with three games left. He needs to average 133.3 yards to reach 2,000 and 168.7 to break Eric Dickerson's NFL mark of 2,105 yards.
"I think about [2,000 yards], but I don't try to think about it too much," Peterson said. "I feel like it will happen. Like I said, it's obvious we're going to continue to run the ball."