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Vikings Geared to Perform Well in Cold?

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Adrian Peterson stepped up to his weekly media availability Thursday sporting a black knit hat with brown fuzzy faux fur.

It looked cozy, almost like a more comfortable winter version of an old leatherhead helmet from a bygone era. After a few questions inside the locker room, Peterson shed the hat with a quick tug as lights from TV cameras warmed the semicircle around him.

The Vikings might not be as ready to shed their identity that's been forged on "old-school football" as they gear up for the first Border Battle with the Packers of 2015.

Minnesota (7-2) is on a five-game winning streak thanks to leading the NFL in rushing yards (147.2 per game), including 961 on the season from Peterson, a defense that ranks second in points allowed (17.1 per game) and a special teams unit that has helped the Vikings win field position and delivered big plays.

On a day when the Vikings opted to have practice in the fieldhouse but with the doors open to let in cold air while providing a shield from the wind and snow flurries Peterson was asked if he's ready for more blustery conditions and think they'll be an advantage for the way the team is built.

"I wasn't a couple of months ago, but told myself it's time to go ahead and switch the mode and start getting prepared for that," Peterson said. "I'll be ready. It will be fun."

The forecast for Sunday is a high of 38 and a low of 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Vikings are 4-0 this season at home with four more home games remaining in their last season of outdoor football for the foreseeable future. They'll try to defend first place in the NFC North standings against the team that's claimed the past four division titles and finished the regular seasons ranked first, fifth, eighth and first in points scored. The Packers are currently 11th in the category this season.

Green Bay (6-3) opened with six consecutive wins but has dropped three straight, including at home last week against Detroit, but Peterson said he feels like the Packers are "still the team to beat."

"We don't take lightly what they've done before they got on the three-game losing streak," Peterson said. "They're going to come in ready to play."

Peterson was selected through an online fan vote as the FedEx Ground Player of the Week after he rushed 26 times for 203 yards (7.8 yards per carry) with an 80-yard touchdown. He will have $2,000 donated in his name to the Minneapolis chapter of the American Red Cross in recognition of the award.

Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall took a look at the effectiveness the Vikings have had in the ground game this season and noted the use of three tight ends (Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison and MyCole Pruitt). They were all on the field during Peterson's fourth 80-yard touchdown run of his career and helped salt away the game.

Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, in his 31st NFL season* *and second in Minnesota, was asked about the personnel grouping.

"We've always had the package, and when we've had three good tight ends, it's been something we're willing to do," Turner said. "Last week, there's certain team that handle it better than others so, you get a team that struggles to handle it, then we're going to use more of it.

"I've been involved with it a number of times, so I wouldn't say it's rare [to have three tight ends who can block and catch], but it's a bonus to have three guys like that."

RELATED: *Ticketmaster Hot Matchup: Adrian Peterson vs. Aaron Rodgers*

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