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Rushing Surge Part of Rise in Standings

Adrian Peterson tied an NFL record with his sixth career game of 200 or more rushing yards.

It was his first such outpouring since 2013.

Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports writes that the greatness of Peterson allows him to measure that kind of day differently.

*…That's how greatness thinks. Some people measure impact running backs by 100-yard games. Peterson — who has averaged 98.7 yards per outing over his nine-year career, a mark exceeded only by Jim Brown (104.3) and Barry Sanders (99.8) — has a yardstick that screams for 200. *

"It feels good to actually pass that mark again," Peterson told Bell. "Finally."

"I want to be a guy who contributes to this," Peterson said.

*I stopped him and, for emphasis, repeated what he'd just stated. Adrian Peterson wants to contribute? *

*I laughed. He grinned. *

*Sorry, dude. Contribute is a nice word — and coming from Peterson, it reflects a certain humility. But contribute is not the best word in this case. As balanced as the Vikings are becoming on both sides of the ball, Peterson is still their MVP. *

Peterson leads the NFL with 961 yards rushing, which is 227 more than Chris Johnson of Arizona. Through nine games, Peterson's pace is four yards ahead of himself in 2012 when he rushed for 2,097 yards.

The Vikings lead the NFL with 147.2 rushing yards a game.

Throwback running game

ESPN.com's Marty Callinan writes that the Vikings have boosted their probability of winning the division title with a throwback running game:

*Five weeks ago they were the No. 16 team with a 2-2 record and a 3.8 percent chance to win the NFC North, according to ESPN's Football Power Index. The Vikings have won five games in a row since their bye week and enter a Week 11 showdown with the Green Bay Packers as the favorites to win the division (56 percent). *

A major factor to that rise is what the Vikings have done on first-down run plays, Callinan notes:

*Over 63 percent of the Vikings' first-down plays this season have been designed rushes, second in the NFL behind the St. Louis Rams (66 percent). The Rams and Vikings are on pace to be behind only the 2014 Dallas Cowboys in designed run percentage on first down over the past five seasons (68 percent). *

Adrian Peterson has 703 rushing yards on first down this season, most in the NFL by 176 yards. Peterson's first-down rushing yardage by itself would rank sixth in the NFL on all downs combined. The Detroit Lions as a team have 602 rushing yards this season.

Rivalry week

Michael Rand of the Star Tribune took a look at upcoming rivalry games, including the significance of the first Border Battle between the Vikings and Packers of 2015. Rand believes:

*This Vikings/Packers game Sunday will heavily influence who wins the NFC North title. If the 7-2 Vikings win, they will be firmly in control with a two-game lead and a distinct tiebreaker edge. If the 6-3 Packers win, they'll reclaim the spot as the favorite. *

Either way, it's a game worthy of the hype — maybe not on the level of Randy Moss' rookie season and certainly not as good as when Brett Favre changed sides in 2009, but a legitimately good game.

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