Vikings-Bears Box Score at NFL.com
Vikings-Bears Play by Play at NFL.com
Vikings-Bears Game Center (with highlights) at NFL.com
Viking fans, let us all be thankful to Adrian Peterson for providing this road victory over the Bears. After scoring a 67 yard touchdown, a 73 yard touchdown, and a 35 yard touchdown, Peterson should have provided the Vikes the cushion to win this game. But the Vikes gave up two long touchdown passes, allowing Chicago to tie the game. Then Peterson had a 53 yard kickoff return, allowing the Vikings to attempt the long field goal that Ryan Longwell made.
Adrian Peterson is a joy; I haven't felt like this since Randy Moss was a Viking. We've got a real live game-breaker, and it's thrilling. With an offense as (talentless? inexperienced?) inconsistent as the Vikings have, the Vikings have trouble sustaining drives; a player capable of putting points on the board with a single long play is just what the Vikings need to stay in games.
This is as exciting as it gets: 224 yards rushing, 9 yards receiving, 128 kick return yards, three rushing touchdowns of 67, 73, and 35 yards. That's making big plays. That's one of the best players in the game.
And it wasn't just the length of the TD runs: it was the spectacular quality. He breaks tackles, he makes moves, he picks blocks and angles. He was running all over the field, cutting and angling. They were all just beautiful to watch.
That's Adrian Peterson, merely beginning his career as the greatest running back in Viking history.
We saw good things from Jackson. His 60 touchdown pass was beautifully on target. He showed accuracy throwing on the move. He's very accurate on the slant pattern (unfortunately, he had at least two very good passes dropped). Perhaps most encouraging, I can't recall a really stupid decision from him (a Viking quarterback with no turnovers at Chicago? When's the last time that happened?). Tarvaris Jackson played a mistake free game against the Bears' defense, which is what the Vikings needed from him.
But there was also some bad. He was inaccurate on some passes to open receivers (the bad overthrow of Tony Richardson was particularly ugly, as that play could have gone far). At least once it appeared he could have easily run for a first down but threw a difficult pass instead (then again, other times he scrambled and made good decisions hitting open receivers instead of running).
9/23 isn't good, but in a game when the Vikings ran for 311 yards (the Vikings effectively used Peterson and Chester Taylor), Tarvaris Jackson was poised enough to make plays and avoid mistakes. We can still be optimistic--he played much better than the last time we saw him play.
Goodness sakes, that felt good. If Williamson can show he can beat a defender and catch the ball, and Jackson can show he can make an accurate pass on a deep throw, there's a whole new element in the Viking offense for defenses to account for and the Vikings to use.
Is there a more feared player in the game today than Hester? No matter what is happening in the game, Hester can change the complexion in a single special teams play. Every punt and kickoff requires opposing fans to watch in anxious horror. He's a devastating player.
The Vikings almost blew a late 14 point lead (actually, they did blow it but won anyway); the Vikes gave up two TD passes that were too easy and didn't hold onto the ball on offense. But I still thought Childress had an aggressive game plan. They ran on third and long a few times, but they also came out throwing at unexpected times and were taking shots downfield.
This was only Childress' third road win and third division win as the Vikings' head coach.
Did anybody really think this year we'd see a Viking game like this one? The shortest touchdown play for either team was a 33 yard TD catch for Muhsin Muhammed. The Bears had two 80+ yard TDs (a punt return and a reception by Devin Hester). The Vikings had three TDs of 60+ yards (two Peterson runs, one pass to Troy Williamson).
A win at Chicago!
In 2000 the Vikings beat the Bears at Soldier Field 28-16. Daunte Culpepper threw three TDs, including one to Cris Carter and one to Randy Moss. Robert Smith rushed for 170 yards.
Does that give you a feel for how long it's been? They lost road games against Chicago in 2001, 2002 (this one not in Soldier Field, which was being renovated), 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. Some of those losses were beyond ugly. I've forgotten how to feel after a Viking win at Soldier Field.
And today the Vikings beat the Bears at Soldier Field 34-31. Tarvaris Jackson threw a touchdown to Troy Williamson, and Adrian Peterson had 224 yards rushing and three touchdowns. That 2000 win was at the end of something; let us hope this 2007 victory is at the beginning of something.