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The Vikings wanted to make a statement today against the San Francisco 49ers. They wanted to show the rest of the NFL that they can win stretch-run games on the road, and that they can handle inferior competition with a minimum of fuss and bother. Mission accomplished. The Vikings had brushed aside San Francisco by halftime, and could then cruise to a 27-7 victory – all while watching their star Adrian Peterson struggle through his worst game as a pro.

Earlier in the year, the Vikings were the Adrian Peterson show. Adrian had a huge game, the Vikings won; Adrian didn’t have a huge game, the Vikings lost. But then Adrian got hurt, and the Vikes had to learn to win without him. That Adrianless stretch gave the team a chance to rediscover Chester Taylor, who has become a prominent part of their offense again. But even more important than the establishment of a true two-headed running attack has been the emergence of Tarvaris Jackson, who in the last month has gone from second-year bust to captain of an efficient, at times dominating offensive squad. Now, the Vikings know they have other weapons beside Peterson. They needed them today: AD, stalked by an aggressive, good-tackling San Francisco defense, had only 3 yards on 14 carries. But Chester was there, breaking off a huge 84-yard touchdown run in the first half; and so was T-Jack, who completed 16-of-25 for 163 yards and 1 TD, to Robert Ferguson, while continuing to minimize mistakes.

Oh, and don’t forget about the defense. They’ve been pretty good during this stretch too, especially in the ball-hawking department. It got started early; The Niners’ first offensive series came to a premature end when Kevin Williams executed one of his patented tip-to-himself plays, carrying the interception in for a touchdown. Not to be outdone, Kevin’s running mate Pat Williams grabbed himself an interception in the second half. The Vikes forced 5 turnovers total, while holding San Francisco to 284 offensive yards.

San Fran had periods of semi-effectiveness, thanks largely to back-up QB and former Viking Shaun Hill, who saw the first real action of his six-year NFL life replacing injured starter Trent Dilfer in the second half. Hill’s first completion of the game was, believe it or not, the first completion of his entire career. By game’s end Hill would have his first career touchdown, his first interception and his first fumble. He managed to pass for 181 yards along the way, shaking the Niners’ offense enough to life for the Vikes to maybe worry a little. But, in the end, the Vikes’ D was able to clamp down on Frisco, snuffing any rallies before they had a chance to get going.