The Vikings played so well Sunday that Norv Turner is smart again.
After 10 days of taking heat for the last play call in a loss to Arizona, the Vikings offensive coordinator scripted an opening drive that pushed the off-balance Bears 93 yards in 13 plays over 6 ½ minutes. Adrian Peterson ran the ball seven times, Teddy Bridgewater threw it six times, and four receivers caught one ball apiece, including Stefon Diggs, who grabbed a 15-yard over-the-shoulder gem as the Vikings rolled 38-17 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday.
"We came out determined, and it was a good mix of plays," Peterson said two weeks after questioning his season-low eight carries against Seattle. "We put our trust in [Turner] that he's going to do what's best for us and put us in the best position to win and be able to get down to the red zone and score points."
Four times, the Vikings reached the red zone. Four times, they scored touchdowns.
Peterson ran the ball 18 times. Bridgewater threw it 20 times with four touchdowns. Seven receivers shared 17 completions. Eight of 12 third downs were converted. And nobody turned the ball over.
"That first drive, we showed we got a lot of playmakers," running back Jerick McKinnon said. "If we're executing at a high level, we know what kind of drives we can have."
Diggs had his first two-touchdown game, but McKinnon was the head-turner Sunday. The second-year pro came into the game with 12 catches for 56 yards on the season and no touchdowns of any kind for his career. He left with four catches for a career-high 76 yards and a touchdown that showcased unusual power for a 5-9, 205-pounder.
"He's probably one of the best athletes, if not the best athlete, on the team," Peterson said. "He's strong. You look at him and you don't think he'd bench over 400 pounds. But he does. You don't think he'd squat over 500. He does. Quick, explosive. He keeps me on top of my game. I can tell you that."
McKinnon had a 25-yard reception on third down to extend the opening touchdown drive. But it was his 17-yard TD that was the highlight.
On third-and-7, the Bears sent an all-out blitz after Bridgewater. That left McKinnon wide open after he slipped out of the backfield.
He caught the ball at the line of scrimmage, broke three tackles and extended the ball over the goal line just before his knee touched down. Unable to tackle him were 6-3, 245-pound linebacker Shea McClellin at the 8; 6-1, 208-pound safety Chris Prosinski at the 4; and 6-foot, 300-pound end Will Sutton, whom McKinnon ran through near the goal line.
"The weightlifting is paying off for me," McKinnon said. "I think people see me as a smaller guy. More of a shifty guy. But I think I bring a power element to my game as well."
McKinnon said he will send the touchdown ball to his mother in Marietta, Ga. She might want to send back some advice about NFL rules that forbid multiple players celebrating together.
McKinnon was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he and Diggs joined for a celebration. Fortunately for McKinnon, the penalty was offset by a defensive penalty for hitting Bridgewater low.
"I tried not to celebrate," McKinnon said. "But I got caught up in the moment."