>MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Adrian Peterson raced to the NFL’s single-game rushing record at the midpoint of his rookie season. Who knows how many more records he could have at the end of the year?
After giving up the longest play in league history on a missed field goal right before halftime, the Vikings turned to their amazing rookie and Peterson delivered – rushing for an NFL-record 296 yards in a 35-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Minnesota (3-5) pressured Philip Rivers into one of the worst games of his career and made sure LaDainian Tomlinson didn’t come close to matching Peterson’s performance.
San Diego (4-4) lost a November game for the first time since 2003 and reverted to the shaky play on both sides of the ball that led to a 1-3 start.
Here’s what Peterson did:
ï He topped 200 yards rushing for the second time in one season, a feat no other rookie has accomplished.
ï He scored two of his three touchdowns and gained 253 yards in the second half, helping the Vikings rally from a 14-7 deficit they faced after Antonio Cromartie plucked a missed field goal out of the air and returned it 109 yards for a touchdown.
ï He reached 1,036 yards rushing for the season, putting him on pace to smash Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1,808 yards set in 1983. Dickerson’s all-time record of 2,105 yards in 1984 is in reach, too.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson got hurt again, and backup Brooks Bollinger was much better in the second half that included a 40-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice that put Minnesota in front 21-14.
But it’s easy to look good handing off to Peterson.
Earlier in the quarter, he burst through a hole off left tackle for a 64-yard score. In the fourth, with the Vikings holding a 21-17 lead, Peterson stretched for extra yardage and had the ball stripped at the San Diego 20. The Chargers recovered with 10 minutes left.
After they punted, Mewelde Moore returned it 42 yards, and Peterson needed only one play to put the game away and show off his unique blend of power, speed and instinct once again. He ran around right end for a 46-yard touchdown, giving his team an 11-point lead midway through the quarter.
On the game’s final possession, the Vikings put Peterson in to get the record with a 3-yard plunge through the middle.