Image of Vikings' bumbling offense fades on this day

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 16, 2007 - 1:00 AM

'Backup' running back Adrian Peterson ran for a team-record 224 yards and three long scores, and kicker Ryan Longwell booted a 55-yard field goal as time expired, negating a late-game collapse.


Longwell and holder Kluwe (5) celebrate Longwell's 55-yard game winner.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

CHICAGO - Rain fell unexpectedly Sunday morning by the lakefront, creating a setting that so often has felled the Vikings at Soldier Field. The grass was damp enough that placekicker Ryan Longwell never bothered to test his range. The wind was blowing harder than normal for a mid-October day.

And so it was natural to sense a vulnerable team -- one poised to slip, slide, stumble and bumble its way to another day of 3-yard passes, false-start penalties and turnovers.

To the surprise of many, that team materialized in the form of the Chicago Bears, while the Vikings turned in an offensive performance for the ages. Knocking the Bears all over the field -- and, in some cases, off it -- the Vikings also lit 'em up for the highest-scoring game of the Brad Childress era. The Vikings stormed to 311 rushing yards, with rookie Adrian Peterson amassing a team-record 224 yards on his own, in a 34-31 victory.

Proving that football is a game of fortunate bounces as much as beating up your opponent, the Vikings did not secure the victory until Longwell coaxed a 55-yard field goal just over the crossbar on the game's final play. The kick was a career-high at any level for Longwell, adding to the mystique of an historic day.

"I would say that game should have been pretty entertaining for our fans," said cornerback Antoine Winfield, perhaps alluding to longstanding criticism of Childress' previously low-output offense.

Sunday, however, the Vikings:

• Doubled their season total of offensive touchdowns by scoring four. Their 34-point total, meanwhile, was a 21-game high.

• Scored on three offensive plays of at least 60 yards for the first time in team history. After receiver Troy Williamson's 60-yard reception in the first quarter, Peterson scored on runs of 67 yards in the second and 73 in the third. Slowing down as the game went on (HA!), Peterson seemingly iced the game with a 35-yard scamper in the fourth.

• Came within 3 yards of breaking the team record of 313 rushing yards in a game. Actually, the Vikings would have finished with 324 yards had they not lost yardage on three of their final four runs. The performance came against an opponent that regularly stacked eight or more defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop Peterson.

• Committed a season-low two penalties and won the turnover battle 4-0 against the Bears.

"When it's a high-scoring game like that, it's just fun to play," Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie said. "You're motivated to just keep scoring."

Childress appeared only mildly enthused by the output, pointing out that the Vikings left two other likely scores on the field. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, making his first start in a month, overthrew fullback Tony Richardson (second quarter) and Williamson (fourth quarter) after noticing them get behind the Bears defense.

What brought a smile to Childress' face was how aggressively his players took it to the Bears. They forced two fumbles, drilled quarterback Brian Griese multiple times and -- most notably -- celebrated when linebacker E.J. Henderson walloped fullback Jason McKie on the final play before halftime.

The hit left McKie dazed and on his back until almost midway through halftime.

With the score tied 14-14, Childress sprinted to the locker room and told players: "The only difference at 14-14 is that we had set a tempo. E.J. set the tempo right there at the end of the half."

Fullback Tony Richardson said the hit "gave us a lot of energy in our locker room," spurring the Vikings to outscore the Bears 17-3 over the next 26 minutes to take a 31-17 lead.

"They always say this about the NFC North, but it's a hit- or-be-hit division," Richardson said. "If you want to win a game, you have to be more physical than they are. You have to impose your will."

The Bears scored two touchdowns in the less than a minute, the second an 81-yard touchdown pass to return man Devin Hester, to tie the score. But Peterson's 53-yard kickoff return set up the Vikings at Chicago's 38-yard line, enabling a miracle day to end well.

  • related content

  • Peterson show dazzles Bears ... and Vikings

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    Minnesota's rookie running back had the best rushing performance ever by a Viking and had observers looking for superlatives.

  • Williamson ends long scoring drought with first-half TD

    Monday October 15, 2007

    CHICAGO - A game dominated by running back Adrian Peterson carried another nugget of optimism for the Vikings offense: Receiver...

  • Patrick Reusse: Past is the past, but Vikings' star of today is a blast

    Monday October 15, 2007

    CHICAGO - Today is the seventh anniversary of the Vikings' previous road victory against the Chicago Bears. The score was...

  • Sid Hartman: Longwell was confident he could nail that kick

    Monday October 15, 2007

    The kicker has worked hard in the offseason to improve his leg strength, and it paid off when he hit a career-long 55-yarder to win Sunday's game.

  • Personal best: long, well done

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    The Vikings kicker's game-winning field goal topped his previous record by a yard.

  • Loss averted, Vikings' secondary relieved

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    After Bears quarterback Brian Griese showed up the Vikings defense with two TD passes in a closing-minutes rally, escaping from Soldier Field with a victory was enough.

  • On a bright note, the Bears' defense can only get better

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    "We haven't played defense like that in a long time," Lovie Smith said after Minnesota shredded Chicago for 311 yards and four TDs.

  • Vikings single-game records

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    VIKINGS SINGLE-GAME RECORDSRUSHING YARDSPlayer Opp. Date Total Att. Avg. TD1. Adrian Peterson at Chi 10/14/2007 224 20 11.2 32. Chuck Foreman at Phi 10/24/1976 200 28 7.1 23. Robert Smith at StL 9/13/1998 179 23 7.8 24. Ted Brown at GB 10/23/1983 179 29 6.2 1NET YARDS (RUSHING, RECEIVING, RETURNS)Player Opp. Date Total Rush Rec. Ret.1....

  • Longest Viking field goals

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    LONGEST VIKINGS FIELD GOALS56 Paul Edinger vs. Packers, Dec. 23, 200555 Ryan Longwell vs. Bears, Sunday54 Jan Stenerud vs. Falcons,...

  • Vikings big play day

    Sunday October 14, 2007

    The Vikings had runs and passes of 60 yards or longer in the same game three times (all were touchdowns):SUNDAY...

  • Vikings replay

    Sunday October 14, 2007


  • WEEK 7: 3:15 P.M. SUNDAY AT DALLAS • CH. 9 • 1130-AM, 100.3-FM

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Miami 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Washington 1
NY Yankees 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Toronto 0
Philadelphia 3 Top 3rd Inning
Atlanta 0
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 2nd Inning
Boston 0
Los Angeles 1 Top 3rd Inning
Milwaukee 0
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood 7:10 PM
St. Louis - C. Martinez
Oakland - J. Hahn 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Texas - R. Detwiler 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker
San Diego - T. Ross 9:15 PM
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner
Chicago 45 2nd Qtr 2:02
Cleveland 42
LA Clippers 8:30 PM
NY Rangers 0 1st Prd 13:43
Washington 0
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters






question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings draft selections

Weekly Question