Adrian Peterson gets best of Gurley; Vikings beat Rams in OT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) In 2007, dynamic rookie Adrian Peterson walked out of a showdown with veteran LaDainian Tomlinson with the NFL's single-game rushing record and the label of best running back in the game.
Nine seasons later, Peterson was the one being challenged by first-year powerhouse Todd Gurley of the St. Louis Rams. And the 30-year-old Minnesota Vikings star showed that he's not ready to give up the mantle just yet.
Peterson rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, helping set up Blair Walsh's 40-yard field goal in overtime that gave the Vikings a 21-18 victory over the Rams on Sunday.
''I don't plan on passing the torch anytime soon,'' Peterson said.
The Vikings (6-2) lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a concussion in the fourth quarter, but still managed to move into a tie for first place in the NFC North with Green Bay after the Packers lost in Carolina.
Gurley steamrolled into the game with four straight performances of at least 125 yards rushing, and the big, powerful, speedy back was drawing comparisons to Peterson all week. But he finished with a pedestrian 89 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and had just 39 yards through three quarters.
''They're an extremely hard defense,'' Gurley said. ''They play hard and play their game. There's a lot of great players over there and they did a great job today.''
The Rams (4-4) committed 12 penalties and were just 2 for 16 on third down.
Peterson scored from six yards out to help the Vikings take an early 10-0 lead, and his 21 yards rushing on Minnesota's lone possession in overtime moved the Vikings into position for Walsh's winning kick.
''We're still learning, and I feel like that's the scary thing,'' Peterson said.
Here are some things to remember from the game:
LIVID VIKINGS: Coach Mike Zimmer was furious with the Rams for defensive back Lamarcus Joyner's hit to the head on a sliding Bridgewater that knocked him out of the game. Zimmer hinted that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was a central figure in the New Orleans Saints' ''Bountygate'' scandal, has a history of coaching his players to play dirty. ''If we were out on the street,'' he said, ''we probably would've had a fight.''
Rams coach Jeff Fisher vehemently denied any sinister motivations, saying Joyner was ''a class kid.''
''I grew up across the railroad tracks from him,'' Joyner said of his and Bridgewater's shared Miami roots. ''My mom knows his mom. My dad knows his mom. I would never intentionally do a dirty play like that on Teddy Bridgewater.''
GREG THE LEG: Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein battled the windy conditions all day, but still managed to kick four field goals, including a 61-yarder with the wind at his back in the second quarter. He also hit a 53-yarder with 12 seconds to play in regulation that forced overtime. Zuerlein joined Sebastian Janikowski as the only two kickers in NFL history to have two field goals of at least 60 yards in a career. ''It's great but I don't really care about any of that,'' Zuerlein said. ''What I care about is winning games and we didn't do that today. If it would've helped us win, I would be a lot happier.''
TOO MUCH YELLOW: Of all the penalties committed by the Rams on Sunday, Fisher was most upset about his defensive line jumping offside. The group has done it seven times now in the last two games. ''It was a no-brainer going into this week that they were going to (use hard counts),'' Fisher said. ''That didn't help us.''
FISHER'S DECISION: After Gurley's touchdown in the first quarter, Fisher decided to go for 2 rather than kick the extra point. Gurley was stuffed on the conversion run and another point would have come in pretty handy for the Rams at the end of regulation. ''It's a long kick and (the wind was) pushing the ball around,'' Fisher said. ''Whether it worked out or not, I would do it again.''
JOSEPH SHINES: Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph had perhaps his best game of what is shaping up to be an outstanding season. He tied for the team lead with 10 tackles, had two quarterback hurries, shared a sack with Andrew Sendejo and was the biggest reason for the Vikings' success against Gurley. ''If he doesn't make the Pro Bowl this year,'' defensive end Brian Robison said, ''it's a travesty.''
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL