Vikings' defense unplugs Chargers, 31-14
MINNEAPOLIS -- On the same day he became a father again, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson celebrated in style, rushing for 126 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings won 31-14 over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS - On the same day he became a father again, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson celebrated in style, rushing for 126 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings won 31-14 over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
Peterson and wife, Ashley, welcomed their second child, a son they named Axyl, early Sunday morning and the veteran joined his teammates on the field a little more than an hour before game time.
“That right there puts everything in perspective,” Peterson said. “Just having the support of my teammates ... that was fun.”
Peterson had the support of his offensive line, who were able to open up big holes despite being down two starters because of injuries. His 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave Minnesota a 10-0 lead.
For Peterson, it was his first touchdown since Nov. 24, 2013.
“It felt good to get in the end zone and knock that rust off,” Peterson said. “It would have been nice to get a third one, but it felt good to see my fullback get in there. He works so hard, a touchdown for him means so much.”
After San Diego pulled within three shortly before halftime, the Vikings forced the Chargers into a quick three-and-out to start the second half.
Peterson made the effort worth it.
On the first play after, Peterson took the handoff and raced 43 yards down the right sideline for his second score of the day, putting the Vikings ahead by 10 points.
San Diego never recovered.
“It was rough sledding there at the beginning,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “But usually, if you’re doing (good things) it will catch up with you and he made a couple of nice runs.”
The Vikings added a 1-yard touchdown run from fullback Zach Line later in the third quarter and linebacker Chad Greenway intercepted a deflected pass and rumbled 91 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth as the Vikings opened a 31-7 lead.
Minnesota’s defense sacked Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers four times, intercepted one pass and forced a fumble in the second quarterback that the Vikings turned into a field goal.
“He is comfortable when he sits in the pocket and steps into his throws,” Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said. “We knew we were going to have to take that away. We knew we had to fly around and put bodies in his way.”
Wide receiver Keenan Allen was one of the few bright spots for the Chargers, finishing with 12 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns. His 34-yard scoring reception with 1:17 before the half gave the Chargers life heading into the break, but San Diego couldn’t build on it coming out of the locker room.
“I try to do what I can for the team and try to make plays,” Allen said. “Hopefully, we can come together and get some wins.”
For the second consecutive week, Minnesota kept second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in more of a supporting role. He completed 13 of 24 passes for just 121 yards and a first-quarter interception.
Rivers threw for 246 yards on 21-of-34 passing with a touchdown and an interception. Rivers has thrown an interception in nine consecutive games, the longest streak in the NFL.
“We had our chances,” Rivers said. “We got across the 50-(yard line) early in the game twice and just didn’t do anything with it.”
Allen scored his second touchdown late in the game on a 19-yard reception from backup quarterback Kellen Clemens.
San Diego rushed for 90 yards as a team on 28 carries. Rookie Melvin Gordon carried 14 times for 51 yards.
“Nothing went right today from start to finish,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. “We were not good enough on the road against a very well-coached team.”
-- Vikings WR Charles Johnson was taken from the sideline to the locker room on a cart in the first quarter but returned later in the game.
-- Vikings DT Justin Trattou was carted from the sideline to the locker room in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.
-- Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes sustained a head injury late in the first half and did not return.