Minnesota Vikings dominate Houston Texans on road


Don't give the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed to the Houston Texans just yet. And don't call the Minnesota Vikings a one-man team.

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Despite a relatively quiet day by Adrian Peterson, the Vikings won 23-6 in Houston because of their defense's dominant effort.

This game will re-shape how we look at both conferences in Week 17. The Texans, now 12-3, have to win in Indianapolis or risk losing the AFC's No. 1 seed. It's possible the Texans even could lose a first-round playoff bye if they fall again.

The Vikings, meanwhile, move to 9-6 with their third consecutive victory against a quality opponent. Leslie Frazier's crew doesn't control its own playoff destiny but remains in solid position, with an upcoming home date against the Green Bay Packers.

We didn't think the Vikings had a December run like this in them. After falling to 6-6, the Vikings beat the Chicago Bears, won easily in St. Louis and just throttled the AFC's top team. The Texans rushed for just 36 yards on the day and lost Arian Foster to an illness during the game. Houston gained just 187 yards in total offense.

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Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had his best day in weeks, picking up key third downs with his arm and his legs. The Texans loaded up to stop Peterson and mostly were successful, holding him to 86 rushing yards on 25 carries.

Peterson now has an uphill battle to break Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season rushing record. He needs 208 yards in Week 17 to break the record and 102 to pass 2,000 yards.

We wouldn't discount anything when it comes to Peterson, but he has bigger things to worry about next week. The Vikings (still) are fighting for a playoff spot.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.