Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings Keep Playoff Hopes Alive With 21-14 Win Over Bears

It’s never pretty for the Vikings. Well maybe that one game against Tennessee. But outside of that, it hasn’t been pretty. And it wasn’t pretty again on Sunday. “Grinding” isn’t even the right word to describe the effort. “Slogging” might be better. At least on the offensive side of the ball. Christian Ponder once again did not have a particularly impressive game. But give Ponder this. He avoided the killer mistake in the second half. Of course Bill Musgrave more-or-less took the ball out of his hands. Which was probably a wise move considering a couple of the terrible plays Ponder made in the first half.

But I don’t want to dwell on Ponder’s ineffectiveness here. It was a win. Adrian Peterson was largely responsible for the victory. He got off to a huge start, running for over 100 yards in the first quarter including 51 on the very first play of the game. Peterson’s two early touchdowns were the sum total of the Vikings’ offensive production. The Bears really started clogging the box after that huge first quarter and it was tough sledding for AD the rest of the day. He finished with 154 yards which was actually sort of disappointing considering the huge start. But we’ll take it.

The other story of the game for the Vikes was the defense. They succeeded in making Jay Cutler uncomfortable as Leslie Frazier wanted. In fact they knocked Cutler out of the game late. They couldn’t cover Brandon Marshall to save their lives, surrendering 160 yards to him, but they only gave up two TDs. And they picked off Cutler twice. The killer was Harrison Smith’s pick six. That sealed the game for Minnesota. The Bears were unable to mount a real comeback after that.

It was a pretty good game overall for Smith who is becoming a major factor on defense. He got to Cutler a couple of times on blitzes as well. Can’t say the same thing for A.J. Jefferson who struggled all day when matched up on Marshall. But everyone struggles when matched up on Marshall. He’s pretty much unstoppable at this point with Jay Cutler throwing those darts to him. But, like I said, it didn’t matter. The Bears didn’t get points. The Vikes got those two huge picks. They overcame penalties and terrible tackling to keep the Bears in check. The Vikes go to 7-6 and still have a shot at the playoffs. St. Louis next.

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