MINNEAPOLIS– Vikings running back Adrian Peterson needed just three quarters of action Sunday night to keep his lead in the race for the 2015 NFL rushing title.
Minnesota's 30-year-old veteran in the backfield ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries before heading to the sidelines in the Vikings 49-17 victory over the New York Giants Sunday.
Peterson and the Vikings can win the NFC North with a victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 17.
"It feels good," Peterson said. "You know, coming in tonight we knew how big this game was, not depending on anyone else to win so we can get in, doing it ourselves, taking care of business."
The Vikings scored a season-high 49 points and had zero turnovers in the victory.
"We got to just continue on the streak that we're on, being focused, holding each other accountable, and playing hard for four quarters," Peterson said. "Taking care of the ball, pounding the ball, making our plays defensively and putting pressure on the quarterback. I feel like if we continue to do those things, we'll take what we want."
Peterson took what he wanted on his 2-yard score, pushing through New York's defensive line for the hard-fought touchdown. It was the running back's 10th rushing score of the season. In doing so, he tied the NFL's all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith with eight seasons of 10 or more rushing touchdowns and trails only LaDainian Tomlinson's streak of nine.
View images from Sunday night's game as the Vikings host the Giants.
This season, Peterson has 1,418 yards on the ground. His effort put him 64 yards past Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (1,354 yards) for No. 1 in the NFL in rushing yards.
If Peterson holds onto the lead through Week 17, he will be the first running back 30 or older to win the rushing title since 2004 when Curtis Martin led the league for the New York Jets.
Peterson's touchdown Sunday night was the 101st of his career, tying Steve Largent for No. 20 all-time.
The running back also had a big run in the third quarter, breaking away with a 39-yard gain. Peterson ran up the right sideline behind a block from tight end Kyle Rudolph and broke into the second tier of the defense.
"They had a lot of guys up there, and we were getting a lot of two yard runs," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said. "I told Norv 'Can we break one of these in here?' and than at the same time Adrian went and broke it. Usually when they keep all of those people in there against the run you have a chance to pop some long runs. It's part of the mindset we are trying to develop with this football team."
Peterson set an all-time team record for Vikings running backs by making his 112th start. He became the first Viking to have two 100-yard rushing games against the Giants.
"We are exactly where we wanted to be," Peterson said. "This is what we envisioned and having an opportunity to do at the beginning of the season. It's right there in front of us."