MINNESOTA (AP) — Adrian Peterson looks like he’s in mid-career form for Minnesota.
Peterson plowed through San Diego’s defense for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 20 rushes in three quarters on Sunday, and the Vikings trampled Philip Rivers and the injury-depleted Chargers 31-14.READ MORE: Día De Los Muertos Celebrations and Others Return To LA
Chad Greenway scored on a 91-yard interception return for the Vikings (2-1), who improved to 7-3 at home under coach Mike Zimmer.
Rivers was pulled for Kellen Clemens midway through the fourth quarter when the deficit reached 24 points. Sacked four times for a loss of 28 yards, Rivers went 21 for 34 for 246 yards with two turnovers and took a hard hit to the midsection from Anthony Barr in the third quarter.
Keenan Allen had 12 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns for the Chargers (1-2).
Hours after his wife, Ashley, gave birth to their son, Axyl, Peterson crossed the goal line for the first time in more than 22 months. His second touchdown was a vintage run around right end, a 43-yard scamper he set up with a vicious stiff arm on safety Jimmy Wilson. That allowed him to turn the corner and straddle the sideline before bouncing off diving safety Eric Weddle as he veered back toward the middle of the field.
Peterson high-stepped into the end zone, dropping to both knees in front of the goal post with his arms stretched out in celebration. The last time he scored was Nov. 24, 2013, at Green Bay, before a foot injury hampered him down the stretch that season. Fallout from the child abuse case against him last year kept him out of all but one game.
What made Peterson’s show-stealing sprint so important was the momentum the Chargers took into halftime on a nine-play, 90-yard drive that took 98 seconds and sucked the life out of the sun-soaked, sellout crowd.READ MORE: Sigma Nu Fraternity At USC Suspends Member At Center Of Sexual Assault Allegations
Rivers found Malcom Floyd open for 39 yards. Four straight passes toward Allen later, the Chargers had the lead cut to 10-7. On the 34-yard touchdown, Allen slipped between Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo. As Rhodes reached out to tackle Allen, Sendejo arrived and inadvertently smacked into Rhodes’ face with his chest. The third-year cornerback’s neck jerked backward and Rhodes was motionless on the field for a few moments before slowly rising to his feet and leaving the field with assistance. Evaluated for a head injury, Rhodes didn’t return.
Rookie Trae Waynes replaced him, the first-round draft pick’s first playing time on defense.
Peterson could’ve had a third score, but fullback Zach Line took the first-and-goal carry late in the third quarter for a 24-7 lead. After turning 30 in March and missing essentially a whole season, questions rose about how Peterson would fare this fall.
The early word? Just fine.
Barr’s sack in the first quarter forced the ball from Rivers, and Captain Munnerlyn set up a short field goal by Blair Walsh by recovering at the 13-yard line.
With their top two tight ends out, the Chargers took even more hits to their health. Center Chris Watt left after missing practice time to a groin injury this week. Left guard Orlando Franklin hurt his right ankle and didn’t return.MORE NEWS: USC Places Sigma Nu Fraternity On Interim Suspension After Reports Of 'Possible Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assaults,' Students Protest In Support Of Victims
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)