MINNEAPOLIS —Adrian Peterson returned home, ran past a franchise record and helped the Vikings defeat the Lions 26-16 on Sunday in their home opener at the University of Minnesota.
Paratroopers sailed into the stadium from the sky before the game, but the ground game was more important than an aerial attack by either team in this one.
The Vikings controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, out-rushing the Lions 199-38.
Peterson led the charge, rushing 29 times for 134 yards (4.6 per carry) in his first game at home since December, 1, 2013 when he had 211 yards against Chicago.
He set the tone early, with four carries on the Vikings first five plays, including a 25-yarder on his fourth touch. During that run, Peterson broke Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter's Vikings career record of 12,410 combined net yards (12,383 receiving, 24 rushing, 3 fumble return by Carter). Peterson now has 12,577 combined net yards (10,355 rushing, 1,794 receiving, 428 kickoff returns).
The focus Peterson demanded created an opportunity for creativity in the playbook. Peterson took the ball from Teddy Bridgewater and rushed to his right before pitching it behind him to Jarius Wright on a reverse. Wright took the ball to the left and found space for a 29-yard gain.
Peterson's presence also opened up running room for Bridgewater on a run from the shotgun two plays before the quarterback connected with Kyle Rudolph for a 5-yard touchdown, and later a bootleg for a 1-yard TD run on fourth-and-goal early in the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
Bridgewater and Peterson also improvised on a key third-down play later in the second quarter. Bridgewater fought off pressure long enough to flip the ball to Peterson. The running back took the pass and ran for a 49-yard gain to set up a 28-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.
Fullback Zach Line scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter to give the Vikings a 23-10 lead (missed PAT). The short carry was set up by a 31-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels to start the drive at the 34.
Justin Trattou recorded his first career interception while in relief of Everson Griffen to give the Vikings the ball at the Detroit 39-yard line and lead to an insurance field goal by Walsh.
After finishing the season-opener with 17 carries for 71 yards (4.2 per carry), the Vikings finished the first half with 21 rushes for 113 yards (5.4 per carry).
Notes: The Vikings improved to 8-0 in games against the Lions when Peterson rushes for 100 or more yards and won their home opener for the first time since 2012. Attendance: 52,319.