Peterson Rushes For 224 Yards In Vikings Win

Monday, October 15th 2007, 10:41 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Adrian Peterson spent the fifth game of his NFL career running around, over and through the defense of a team that was a pioneer in pro football.

No player had ever gained so many rushing yards _ 224 on just 20 carries _ against the Chicago Bears who are in their 88th season.

During his electrifying performance Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings' rookie had three TD runs and set up Ryan Longwell's final-play, 55-yard field goal with a long kickoff return to lead a 34-31 Minnesota victory.

``He wasn't out there running scot-free. We couldn't tackle him,'' Chicago defensive back Charles Tillman said.

``We stunk. We played horrible,'' Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. ``He's a good player, but ... he shouldn't get that many yards.''

Yet, Peterson did with a series of highlight-reel moves and a combination of power and speed that showed why he was the first running back selected last April.

Was he surprised by his own ability to break loose against a team that eight months ago was in the Super Bowl?

``Maybe a little bit, but I knew it was possible,'' said Peterson, the Vikings' first-round pick out of Oklahoma. ``Considering the guys we have up front and how we prepared this week, I knew we'd come in, establish and run and be successful.''

He scored on runs of 67, 73 and 35 yards. He broke Chuck Foreman's club-record of 200 yards rushing set against the Eagles in 1976, and gained the most yards against the Bears in their 88-year history.

``I'm aware of it,'' Peterson said of the Vikings' record.

He also set up Longwell's career-best, game-winner by returning a kickoff 53 yards. His afternoon at Soldier Field overshadowed a great one from the Bears' Devin Hester, who returned a punt 89 yards for a score and caught a game-tying 81-yard TD pass from Brian Griese with 1:38 left.

``It's kind of crazy,'' Peterson said. ``Guys come up to me and they say, 'When you got the ball it's kind of like holding your breath.' I experience that when that guy (Hester) is on the field. I'm holding my breath knowing he can take it to the house any time he touches the ball.''

After the Griese-to-Hester connection tied it up, Peterson returned the ensuing kickoff to the Bears 38.

Why did the Bears kick to Peterson after he'd run all over the field?

``We haven't gone into many games where we don't kick the ball to the player. We thought we would get good field position, and go from there,'' Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

After Peterson was thrown for a 4-yard loss back to the 37 on third down, Longwell floated a kick that just cleared the crossbar.

``It was on line. I couldn't tell how far it cleared, but I knew it wouldn't be much,'' Longwell said.

Peterson's 35-yard TD run with 4:10 left put the Vikings (2-3) ahead 31-17, but the Bears (2-4) came back.

Muhsin Muhammad caught a 33-yard TD pass from Griese with 2:36 remaining. After the Vikings recovered an onside kick at the Bears 40, Chicago held and forced a punt, taking over at its 19 with 1:53 to go.

On second down, Griese dropped back and lofted the long pass to Hester, who raced past Dwight Smith to make the catch and score.

Then the Bears kicked to Peterson, whose energizing runs came on a day when Tarvaris Jackson returned as Minnesota's quarterback after missing two games with a groin injury. Jackson completed only 9 of 23 passes for 136 yards.

The Vikes' running game, that included 83 yards from Chester Taylor and the brilliance of Peterson, more than compensated.

``(Backup quarterback) Brooks (Bollinger) and I were talking on the sideline that Peterson was having a college-style kind of game,'' Jackson said.

Notes: Griese finished 26-of-45 for 381 yards with three TD passes and a pair of interceptions in his third start, and first at home, since replacing Rex Grossman as Chicago's starter. ... The Vikings won a road game against the Bears for the first time since 2000. ... Ricky Williams of Miami had 216 yards rushing against Chicago in 2002.