The Minnesota Vikings not only stunned the nation Sunday when they routed the Houston Texans, they also did so without Adrian Peterson running 100 yards.
The Vikings, in arguably one of their most impressive games of the season, came into Houston as nine-point underdogs and won 23-6 to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Vikings came out with a vengeance, holding the Texans to just a field goal in their first possession and then driving 78 yards for the score. QB Christian Ponder linked up with TE Kyle Rudolph for a three-yard touchdown.
Two possessions later, Houston was driving when QB Matt Schaub handed the ball off to RB Arian Foster. LB Jasper Brinkley hit Foster hard and the ball came out. CB AJ Jefferson was there to recover. The turnover led to a Vikings 56-yard field goal by Blair Walsh, who set an NFL record for his ninth 50-yard field goal of the season.
The Vikings carried their defensive momentum throughout the second half. Even when JJ Watt strip-sacked Ponder to gain possession at mid-field, the Vikings defense turned it up to hold the Texans to a field goal. On the other side of the ball, Ponder played an efficient, well managed football game. He ended the day 16-30 with 174 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He made smart plays, getting rid of the ball in busted coverage and showing quick feet while running for first downs. Peterson ended the day with 86 yards, 207 yards from Eric Dickerson’s record and 102 yards from reaching the 2,000-yard mark.
Peterson was asked after the game about not reaching the 100-yard mark Sunday.
“It was a relief seeing guys making plays and you feel like it isn’t all on your shoulders,” he said. “Collectively, as an offense, we got it done.”
With their ninth win of the season, the Vikings control their destiny if they want to see playoff football. With a win next week at home against the Packers, the Vikings will secure a playoff spot. With an NFL record and a playoff spot on the horizon, next Sundays game is sure to be must-watch.
“I feel like we’re in a pretty good position,” said Peterson. “Momentum is high and I feel like we’re playing our best football all around.”