Torrid pace puts Dickerson's record in Peterson's reach

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 16, 2012 - 11:44 PM

Peterson still hasn't changed his tune on chasing Eric Dickerson's NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards. With two games left, Peterson has 1,812 yards, 294 shy of breaking the record.

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Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still hasn't changed his tune on chasing Eric Dickerson's NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards. With two games left, Peterson has 1,812 yards, 294 shy of breaking the record.

Photo: McKenna Ewen, Star Tribune

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ST. LOUIS - Adrian Peterson isn't letting up.

Peterson still hasn't changed his tune on chasing Eric Dickerson's NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards. With two games left, Peterson has 1,812 yards, 294 shy of breaking the record.

"It's been in my sights for a while," Peterson said after rushing for 212 yards in the Vikings' 36-22 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. "It's something that I'm not focusing on. But I want to accomplish that."

With games left against the Texans and Packers, Peterson will have to average 147 yards per contest to pass Dickerson. Over the past eight games, Peterson has averaged 164 yards and 7.5 yards per carry, so Dickerson's 28-year-old mark seems endangered.

Peterson's 1,313 rushing yards over that span is an NFL record for most yards in eight consecutive games.

"I haven't seen anything like it," 35-year-old Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "I have been around a lot of football, seen a lot of great players. But he is No. 1 on my list."

Peterson trails only Jim Brown (6.40 to 6.27) for highest yards-per-carry average among players with 1,800 or more yards in a season. Brown had 291 carries for 1,863 yards in 1963.

Said rookie left tackle Matt Kalil: "I don't need to take a step back. I'm following him downfield. It's like front-row seats to the best movie ever. It's fun watching him and just being a part of that. And I think we all know he's going to break the record the way he's going right now."

Managing the game

For only the second time in the past 10 outings, quarterback Christian Ponder went without a turnover. It's no coincidence the Vikings are 6-1 the past two seasons when that happens.

Ponder scored the game's first touchdown on a 5-yard run and went 17-for-24 passing Sunday for 131 yards. The Vikings were again without a downfield passing attack. Ponder's longest completions of the day were a pair of 14-yarders to Jerome Simpson and John Carlson.

Ponder had two near giveaways on back-to-back plays in the third quarter. He fumbled while taking a blindside hit from safety Quintin Mikell. With Ponder in the action of throwing, the ball actually flew 21 yards backward and went out of bounds for a big loss.

On the next play, Ponder's slant throw to Simpson probably should have been intercepted by Trumaine Johnson.

Big day for Greenway

Linebacker Chad Greenway had a Vikings-high 14 tackles and a sack, giving the defense plenty of pop throughout.

As a whole, the Vikings spent most of the first half disguising coverages in an attempt to rattle Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. That strategy worked. Bradford was 14-for-23 for 148 yards before halftime. St. Louis' seven first-half possessions resulted in three punts, two turnovers, one TD and a missed field goal as the Vikings surged to a 30-7 lead.

"We were trying to show some pressure," Greenway said. "And then we obviously knew we had to bring some pressure. If you're only going to show it, it's not going to do you much good. So we just tried to create as much confusion as we could and try to get their line off a little bit. We were able to get some things done that way."

Needed rest

Winfield, who was listed as questionable on the injury report because of a knee issue, started as expected. But the Vikings pulled the plug on Winfield in the fourth quarter, sitting him down the stretch as a precaution.

"No setback [with the knee]," Frazier said. "It was purely me just saying, 'Hey, let's get him out.' We've got a pretty good cushion here. We wanted to make sure he'd be OK and ready for next week."

Harvin has surgery

On Saturday, Percy Harvin noted on Twitter that he was heading for surgery. On Sunday, Frazier revealed the operation had nothing to do with the wide receiver's season-ending ankle injury, but was instead an emergency appendectomy.

Robison injured

The Vikings' only significant injury Sunday was the right shoulder sprain suffered in the first quarter by defensive end Brian Robison. He will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam to determine the extent of the damage done to his acromioclavicular joint.

Getting sloppy

St. Louis had eight penalties for 47 yards. Two false start penalties on the Rams' final first-half drive resulted in Greg Zuerlein missing a 57-yard field-goal attempt.

Early in the second half, a 35-yard punt return by Danny Amendola was negated by an illegal block from Cory Harkey.

Ouch!

After Amendola's 6-yard TD catch early in the fourth quarter, his enthused spike took a wicked bounce and hit a security guard right in the face.

The guard's glasses were broken, but he suffered no serious injuries, the Vikings PR staff reported.

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