Vikings-Chargers Box Score
Vikings Chargers Game Center (with highlights)
Special. That's what this is. Special. I feel lucky to be in attendance at the game featuring Adrian Peterson's record 296 yard performance. Today was probably my most thrilling day as a Viking fan. The energy in the stadium was palpable. The appreciation of the crown for Adrian Peterson was sincere. Whatever else happens to me as a Viking fan, I'm going to always remember standing in the Metrodome giddy with excitement watching Adrian Peterson bust through and around and past the Charger defense again and again and again.
His day featured long runs, such 64 yard and 46 yard touchdown runs. His day featured speedy runs around the edge. His day featured powerful churning runs through the middle. There were cutbacks. There were moves. There was speed. There was Peterson, an incredibly intelligent and instinctive open field runner that does a spectacular job using downfield blockers and cutting the right way to use them.
Brooks Bollinger to Sidney Rice, 40 yard touchdown
When Bollinger let the pass go, I looked down to Rice, running toward the end zone. He had beaten his defender and was open. As has happened several times this season, I expected the pass to land just in front of the open receiver, or to float just too far out of bounds. But it was on target, and Rice scored an energizing touchdown to give the Vikings a lead they wouldn't give up.
There's nothing secret about the Viking run defense. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams are incredible defensive tackles who simply don't allow space up the middle. And E.J. Henderson is playing Middle Linebacker like a Pro Bowler, which I can only hope he'll be this season.
Henderson has been a dominant football player this season. He makes plays all over the field, showing strength, toughness, speed, and agility. We're lucky to have #56 in the middle. Two years ago linebacker was, in my opinion, the team's biggest weakness. With Henderson anchoring the middle, it's now one of the team's strengths. Watch him: he's a dominant football player.
The Chargers looked like a bad football team.
Coming into the game, J-Rod and I talked about how no matter what, we'd be watching really talented players like Philip Rivers, Ladanian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, and Shawne Merriman (whom of course we'd be rooting against). But they did nothing. Rivers was really bad, often badly inaccurate. Gates was completely shut down (1 catch for 10 yards). Tomlinson was completely unproductive and unimpressive. Merriman was a non-factor.
But this Charger team didn't really look like a good team at all. Today, at least, they couldn't run, couldn't pass, and got trounced defensively. During the first half, as the Vikings repeatedly stopped the Chargers on 3rd down, I lamented that the offense wasn't taking advantage of the defense's good work against a good offense. In the second half, the offense was very good (mostly thanks to Adrian Peterson, but Chester Taylor made solid plays and Brooks Bollinger was an effective QB), but the Charger offense continued to suck.
Before the game
J-Rod and I walked around the outside of the Metrodome, and who do we see walking around alone? Zygi Wilf. We wondered why he was just walking around pretty much by himself.
But we saw something even more special: the Kensington Runestone. The Runestone, real or fake, is now the Vikings' good luck charm. They should ask to bring it everywhere they go.
For a close, exciting game, the Metrodome crowd really gets into it, and this game gave us a lot of really exciting plays. The Vikes had good kick return and a good punt return, a 40 yard TD pass and many, many incredible plays running. We were completely incensed by the 109 missed field goal return before the half. We saw many great stops from the Viking defense, including a wonderful tip by Dwight Smith that surely saved a long TD pass. There was a lot of excitement, and the crowd was juiced. Good times.
OK, Minneapolis, I think I've figured you out. I now know a quick way to get out of you. No big deal.
It's a thrill that the Vikings won. It's a thrill that Adrian Peterson had a record day (according to the PA, Peterson is the first RB to rush for 200+ yards twice in the same season--and he's done it in his first eight games). It's a thrill that the offense and defense gave us great plays and overall solid performances. For today I'm not going to talk about the problems, and I'm not going to look ahead yet.
Adrian Peterson, dynamic football player, rushed for a record 296 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 35-17 home win. He's indescribably good: so often, the Metrodome crowd was in awe that he was able to do it again. He just kept on making plays, spectacular, wonderful, jaw-dropping plays. I don't even have adequate words for the way it just kept happening. He just kept getting around the corner, kept getting first downs, kept making us cheer and shake our heads in amazement. The league's new phenom, and possibly the best running back in the league right now, wears purple. Let's just smile and appreciate the thrill.