Adrian Peterson said he knew his first-half left ankle injury wasn’t serious, “but it hurt like heck initially.”
The Vikings running back limped off the field in the second quarter after a 9-yard gain that ended with Chicago linebackers Shea McClellin and Pernell McPhee landing awkwardly on Peterson’s left leg. He gingerly walked to the locker room with two minutes left in the half, but would return late in the third quarter.
With the Vikings on their way to a 38-17 victory over the Bears at TCF Bank Stadium, Peterson was a spectator for most of the fourth quarter.
“It wasn’t anything too serious like a broken bone or torn ligament,” Peterson said. “Once I was able to put pressure on it, I felt comfortable.
“I had to fight a little bit [to get back in the game], but once I looked [the coaches] in the eyes and told them ‘Hey, I’m good,’ I was able to get back out there. And once we went up by 21, it was more so ‘Be smart and let these guys go and get the job done,’ and there wasn’t any slack they had to pick up. They came in, Jerick [McKinnon] and Matt [Asiata], they did an awesome job.”
Peterson had 12 carries for 56 yards before the injury and ran the ball only six more times to finish with game-high 63 rushing yards, giving him 1,314 for the season. He has 6 more yards than Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin in a two-player race for the NFL rushing title.
“If you look back on the sideline, I’m over there with a big smile on my face,” Peterson said. “It felt good to be on the sideline and be able to see those young guys get in there and get the job done.”
Diggs gets two
Vikings rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs went home with a pair of footballs on Sunday after his first two-touchdown game.
Diggs chose not to keep the ball from his first career touchdown reception in Week 7 against Detroit but said of Sunday’s souvenirs, “I’ll keep them somewhere. … Just to remember two.”
“The best game is yet to come,” Diggs said.
Diggs finished with three catches for 55 yards. His 15-yard touchdown reception gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and his 33-yard TD catch put the Vikings up 24-7 early in the third quarter.
Getting his chance
Undrafted rookie safety Anthony Harris made his second start in his second NFL game after being promoted from the practice squad two weeks ago.
With Harrison Smith (hamstring) sidelined, Harris started alongside Andrew Sendejo, who returned to action after missing two games with a knee injury. Harris had six tackles and Sendejo four.
“The first game I was excited, but hey, I was excited [Sunday] as well,” Harris said, “but now that I got the first game out of the way, I was able to go in and play and … felt a little more settled in and a little more comfortable.
“It’s just about playing my assignment. … I just try to go out there and not try to get tied up into trying to be a savior, but just go out there and can help the defense win and get off the field.”
It didn’t take long for Sendejo to shake off the rust. Off the blitz, he caught Matt Forte at the line of scrimmage for no gain on the second play of the Bears’ second drive of the game.
“It’s always good early in the game to get something like that to get going,” Sendejo said. “It was good to come back and jump right into it.”
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t happy with the late, and low, hit he took from Chicago safety Demontre Hurst after completing a 17-yard touchdown pass to McKinnon in the second quarter.
Hurst was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I didn’t like that the defender dove at my knees, but I think the refs made a good call and we ended up with the touchdown so that’s what matters most,” Bridgewater said.
Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes briefly left the game after hurting his knee while breaking up a pass intended for Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery midway through the second quarter.
Rhodes hobbled off the field and received treatment on the sideline before eventually returning.
“I’m good. Just knee-to-knee [contact on the play],” Rhodes said. “No thought at all [I wouldn’t return]. I was going back in.”
He finished with five tackles and one pass defended. Jeffery, who caught a 10-yard touchdown pass for his only reception of the day, missed a lot of the game because of a sore hamstring.
• Defensive end Everson Griffen started despite missing practice time because of a shoulder injury. Griffen played 27 snaps, had one tackle and one quarterback hit.
• Standout nose tackle Linval Joseph (foot) was scratched.
• Defensive end Zach Moore made his debut with the Vikings after being promoted from the practice squad on Saturday. Moore, a Concordia (St. Paul) product who won a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots last season, played six snaps.