Adrian Peterson is not shy about setting ambitious goals. It's served him well, as Peterson seems to continually achieve the improbable and rewrite the record books. It should come as no surprise then, that Peterson has gotten to the point where a 100-yard game isn't a belt-notching accomplishment.
1500ESPN.com's Andrew Krammer writes that Peterson is more concerned about 200-yard games.
Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with six 100-yard rushing games this season, but don't ask him if he takes pride in that.
Peterson, who tied O.J. Simpson with his sixth 200-yard outing last month in Oakland, said he's not settling for the century mark. Peterson currently leads the league 1,251 rushing yards and could be the first running back at age 30 or older to claim the rushing title since Curtis Martin in 2004.
"I take pride in 200-yard games," Peterson said. "That's what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about 200, 250. You'll take 100 if that's what you have to settle for."
Krammer also notes that Peterson has two of his six 200-yard games against the Chicago Bears, the team who will visit the Vikings on Sunday. In 13 career games against the Bears, Peterson has 1,499 rushing yards, a 5.03 yards per carry average and 14 rushing TDs. The 14 rushing TDs Peterson has against the Bears are the most he has against any opponent in his career.
Playoffs could see Packers-Vikings rematch
Mike Zimmer doesn't want his team looking ahead, but if you're not on his team you may feel inclined to do. In so doing, writes USA Today's Stu Courtney, one will find that a Vikings-Packers rematch appears a likely scenario in the wild card round of this year's playoffs.**
If the Packers (9-4) beat the Vikings (8-5) in the final game of the season Jan. 3 at* *Lambeau Field, they will win the division, even if they lose their two preceding games at Oakland and at Arizona. They would own the tiebreaker by virtue of having beaten the Vikings twice.
As NFC North champ, the Packers likely would be the third seed in the playoffs (barring a late-season collapse by second-seeded Arizona) and host a first-round game against the sixth seed, which well could be the Vikings.*
Of course there are many other scenarios that could play out over the final three weeks, which is precisely why Zimmer prefers to keep the focus exclusively on what's right in front of his team. The Vikings haven't clinched a spot in the postseason yet, so they could be edged out when all is said and done. Or they could be hosting a wild card round game. Or they could be traveling on the first weekend to a place other than Green Bay.
Click here to check out the most up-to-date clinching scenarios for the Vikings.
Linval Joseph returns to practice
Are the Vikings getting healthier? Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune had some good news on Thursday.
For the second straight day, a key Vikings defender returned to practice.
Yesterday, it was safety Harrison Smith. Today, it was nose tackle Linval Joseph, who has missed two straight games with a toe injury. Joseph had a helmet on and was participating in position drills with his fellow defensive linemen before media was booted out of practice. He was listed as a limited participant on the injury report.
By the way, Smith (hamstring/knee) practiced for a second straight day. He participated on a limited basis, as well.
Vensel also noted that LB Anthony Barr (groin) and DE Everson Griffen (shoulder) sat out of practice.
Fran Tarkenton: Play-caliber Vikings should beat Chicago
**Vikings legend Fran Tarkenton spends most of his time helping small businesses at his firm in Atlanta. But he also likes to keep a close eye on the NFL and the Vikings. In a piece for the Pioneer Press, the Hall of Fame QB and Vikings Ring of Honor member says he was impressed with the Vikings effort against Arizona last week, is as optimistic about the Vikings now as any point this season and thinks the Vikings will win on Sunday.
When it comes to football, I trust my eyes.
I played in the NFL for 18 years, and I've been watching and studying the game my entire life. I am more encouraged today about this year's Vikings team than at any point this season.
The Vikings lost Thursday night, but they played their best game of the year. I'm talking about the caliber of play that the Vikings players showed on the field, on each and every snap. They played a complete game. The defense did a very good job, and the offense was moving the ball as well as it has all season.