Peterson Returns to Lift Surging Vikings

The Associated Press
Sunday, December 2, 2007; 4:22 PM

MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson is back in a big way, and the Minnesota Vikings suddenly appear to be so much more than a one-man show.

Peterson rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns in his return from a knee injury and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson continued his steady improvement to lead the surging Vikings to a 42-10 victory over the free-falling Detroit Lions on Sunday.

In the last three weeks, Jackson has shown poise, an accurate arm and command of the offense that simply wasn't there early in the season, and Sunday was his best game yet.

He was 18-of-24 for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and the Vikings (6-6) scored TDs on their first six possessions to win their third in a row and fourth in the last five games.

The streak has the Vikings right back in the thick of the NFC playoff picture, thanks in large part to a November swoon by the Lions that has an all-too familiar feel for their long-suffering fans.

Jon Kitna threw for 260 yards and one touchdown for the Lions (6-6), who have lost four in a row to waste a 6-2 start that had fans crowing that the roar was restored in Detroit.

A month later, the Lions are looking more like the hapless Motor City Kitties who started the season with more losses than any team in the NFL over the last six years.

Coming in, the Lions talked about needing a sense of urgency to turn things around. But they showed nothing of the sort in a woeful effort.

The Lions rushed for just 23 yards on seven attempts against the league's top-ranked run defense, committed three personal foul penalties during shows of frustration and were manhandled at the line of scrimmage.

Peterson returned after missing two weeks with a torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee and was inserted into the starting lineup. Wearing a brace, the star rookie looked to be just a step slower than his usual blazing self _ but that was still two steps faster than the Lions' defense.

He ripped off a 28-yard run on the first possession to set up a touchdown run by Chester Taylor, then added a 16-yard scoring run of his own to help the Vikings jump out to a 14-3 lead.

The Lions came right back and scored on a 2-yard pass from Kitna to Casey FitzSimmons, but rookie Aundrae Allison returned the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown to get the Vikings rolling in a stunningly productive 28-point second quarter.

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