Rarely has Adrian Peterson run so many times for so few yards.
In the Vikings’ 16-10 victory over the Chiefs on Sunday, Peterson, one of the game’s premier running backs, was held to 60 yards in 26 attempts, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. Only eight times in Peterson’s 109-game NFL career has he been held to a smaller average.
“He’s one of the best running backs who ever lived,” said Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. “We knew it would be a tough task stopping him.”
But that’s what the Chiefs did. For the second time in Peterson’s career, he was held to 60 yards or fewer with at least 25 attempts. In a 2009 victory over the Packers, Peterson rushed for 55 yards in 25 attempts.
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“The first thing for us is to stop the run, and we go from there,” Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey said.
For all of the Chiefs’ problems in their 1-5 start, rushing defense hasn’t been one of them. They entered the game ranked 13th in the NFL, surrendering 98.6 yards per game.
Sunday, they were without a couple of injured starters, tackle Dontari Poe and linebacker Josh Mauga, but the Chiefs came up with nine tackles for loss, three by Bailey, a player Peterson got to know well.
“I’ll tell you this, No. 97 (Bailey) grabbed me one time and swung me down,” Peterson said. “I was able to feel the force that he had. That guy is extremely strong, and I’m sure there aren’t too many guys that can keep him from getting to the quarterback or keep him out of the backfield on every play.”
On a day when the Vikings were held to 84 rushing yards and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was intercepted twice, the Chiefs couldn’t come up with enough offense to take advantage.
Defense, especially against Peterson, kept the Chiefs close and the game winnable. Often, it seemed as if Peterson had just taken the handoff when he was met by a Chiefs player.
“Yeah, on a couple of plays it seemed like that,” Peterson said. “Sometimes you’re just going to get beat.”