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Adrian Peterson's record pursuit not Vikings' top goal

Adrian Peterson's quest for the NFL's single-season rushing record has overshadowed the Minnesota Vikings turning around their wayward season over the last two weeks. Back-to-back wins over the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams put the Vikings at 8-6 and right in the middle of the NFC wild-card race.

No matter what happens the rest of the way, the Vikings' season should be viewed as a success. But Christian Ponder says Peterson's record is not the goal.

"That is not really our focus," the Vikings' quarterback told "NFL AM" on Thursday. "Obviously our focus is to keep our wild-card spot that we have right now, and making the playoffs is our No. 1 goal. But we obviously really want Adrian to get that record and we are going to keep handing the ball off to him, and if he keeps doing what he's doing, especially the past eight games, then hopefully he'll achieve that record.

"I think it's important for him, and it's important for us, for him to get that."

The smart folks at Accuscore project Peterson to gain 268 yards over the final two weeks, which would leave him 26 yards short of Eric Dickerson's record. There is a lot of optimism Peterson can break the record, in part because the Houston Texans' defense doesn't look as stout as in the past.

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Vick Ballard of the Indianapolis Colts kept getting to the edge against the Texans last week on the way to 105 yards (on just 18 carries). The New England Patriots ran for 130 yards the previous week. Houston is 13th in the NFL in yards per carry allowed. The Green Bay Packers, the Vikings' final regular-season opponent, also have an average run defense.

Getting Peterson the record might not be the Vikings' primary focus, but there's plenty of reason to believe he'll break it anyway.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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