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Vikings lean on Peterson, run defense in win

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Posted Sept. 27, 2010 @ 11:55 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The Vikings still have work to do with their passing game, but the good news is that they have RB Adrian Peterson and a strong run defense to lean on. Peterson ran for 160 yards and two TDs, one of which covered a career-high 80 yards. And the Vikings took away the Lions’ best offensive threat early this season in RB Jahvid Best before he left the game with a toe injury.

The PFW Spin

Before Brett Favre became a Viking, the team established a formula of running the football and stopping opponents’ ground game. And as Favre tries to regain his 2009 magic, it’s a formula the Vikings no doubt will try mimic following the team’s bye in Week Four.

Peterson ran with what he called “a sense of urgency,” and it showed. As he had the first two games, Peterson was able to break tackles and make yards after contact. He showed that he’s the best and safest offensive option for the Vikings, who nonetheless made some strides in the passing game.

The 80-yard run featured a great stiff-arm on Lions S C.C. Brown, and Peterson used his speed to finish off the play. He raced to the endzone, making it a two-touchdown lead at 24-10, effectively ending the Lions’ chances of coming back.

Favre and his receivers are still not to where they want to be, and the offensive line appeared to be far more assertive when it was asked to run-block than to pass-protect. There’s only so much Peterson can do, getting more than 23 carries per game, so the Vikings will have to get Toby Gerhart up to speed to the point where he can carry the ball 6-8 times per game. Gerhart lost a fumble on Sunday and must earn back the coaches’ trust.

Taking away Best, though, was another huge factor. The rookie had lit up the Eagles the week before but was taken out of the game by the Vikings. They kept contain on him, not allowing Best to use his speed to get to the edge, and they did a good job tackling him inside. The Vikings might not have an elite run defense, but this experienced group has the ability to slow down even good run games.

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