Vikings, Peterson speed past Lions in 24-10 win

Published 8:01 am Monday, September 27, 2010

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson stiff-armed the safety, cut to his right and turned up field. It had been a long time since he had a head of steam like this built up, and he wasn’t about to let it go to waste.

Even though two Detroit Lions had an angle on him, Peterson turned the foot race into a laugher, blazing to an 80-yard touchdown that got the Minnesota Vikings rolling toward a much-needed victory.

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With Brett Favre again struggling to move the ball through the air, Peterson rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 24-10 win over the Lions on Sunday.

“With him, when you see his head start bobbing, you can go ahead and put your hands in the air,” receiver Percy Harvin said.

Peterson says he’s faster than he’s ever been, and the Vikings need him more than they ever have as they work to get their out-of-synch passing attack back on track. Favre simply hasn’t had the same magic this year, so the Vikings have resorted to the type of ground-and-pound offense that they became famous for when Peterson burst into the league in 2007.

After throwing only seven interceptions — none at home — in his first season in purple last year, Favre has already thrown six this season. Sidney Rice is injured and Favre is throwing to a receiving corps that seems to change by the week, a combination that has grounded what was a high-flying unit.

Peterson sees it as well as anybody, and he took matters into his own hands with the kind of dominating performance he had not delivered since a 180-yard day in the opener against Cleveland last year.

“That’s really just the mentality that I have,” Peterson said. “When things aren’t really going well, I want to get the guys going up front and establish the run game. We were pretty productive.”

It came not a moment too soon for the Vikings (1-2), who entered the season with their eyes on the Super Bowl.

“It’s a great elixir,” coach Brad Childress said.

The Lions (0-3) sure could use some of that after losing their 22nd straight road game and 13th in a row at the Metrodome.

After giving Chicago and Philadelphia all they could handle in narrow losses to start the season, the Lions took a step back with a mistake-filled performance against the Vikings.

Stefan Logan fumbled a punt to set up Minnesota’s first score, Jason Hanson missed a 44-yard field goal and the Lions wiped out two turnovers by Favre — a fumble after a sack and an interception — with defensive penalties.

“Any loss is tough, and it’s been three tough losses,” said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who only had one tackle. “We’ve just got to eliminate mistakes. Defensively we’re playing well for 90 percent of the game, but just giving up big plays. That’s something we’ve got to eliminate.”

The Lions jumped ahead when defensive tackle Corey Williams stepped in front of a screen pass to intercept Favre. He returned it 27 yards to Vikings 12 and Shaun Hill hit Tony Scheffler for a 5-yard TD to take the lead.

Williams had a tackle for loss and batted a pass from Favre on the next series to force a punt, but Logan took his eye off the ball and coughed it up. Chad Greenway recovered the muff on the Lions 24.

With all eyes on Peterson, Favre faked a handoff and had Harvin wide open down the seam. He nearly overthrew his receiver, but Harvin made a brilliant diving catch in the end zone to tie the game.

“Obviously that was a big thing, particularly after the turnover on defense when we had gone and taken the lead and we let them right back in it,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “That’s something we can’t allow to happen.

Hill threw for 237 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions in the end zone as the Lions tried to rally.

Star rookie Jahvid Best, who had 232 total yards last week, was held to 26 yards on seven carries before leaving with an injured right big toe in the third quarter.

“I got tackled on a pass I caught over the middle,” Best said. “They wrapped me up and tackled me and I got up and my toe wasn’t feeling right.”

It was all down hill from there for the Lions. Ben Leber and Antoine Winfield had interceptions in the fourth quarter and the Vikings held the Lions to 63 yards rushing and 3 for 12 on third downs to close out the game.

“Shaun battled his way through it, but when it’s one-dimensional, eventually you’re going to get sacks and you’re going to get interceptions just because you don’t have a run game,” Schwartz said.

The Vikings certainly have one with Peterson.

“He never ceases to amaze you,” Childress said.