Vikings knock off Raiders to seize NFC North lead


The Vikings (7-2) sit alone atop the NFC North after Adrian Peterson ran for a season-high 203 yards in Sunday's 30-14 win over the Oakland Raiders (4-5). Here's what you need to know:

1. The Vikings dialed up a time-tested plan on offense: Hand it to Adrian Peterson. Rinse and repeat. The All-Pro back barreled through Oakland's fifth-ranked run defense for 203 yards on 26 attempts, marking the sixth 200-yard outing of his stellar career. It was impressive to watch Peterson grow stronger as the game progressed, plowing for tough yards and chewing up the clock before breaking free on an 80-yard touchdown gallop in the fourth quarter that sunk a knife into the Raiders. It was Peterson's biggest output since running for 211 yards in Week 13 against the Bears in 2013.

2. In a mostly ugly game between two promising second-year passers, Derek Carr came up short against Teddy Bridgewater. The Raiders quarterback wove almost all his magic during the second quarter, throwing his 20th and 21st touchdowns on the year, already matching his rookie output. I love Carr's desire to challenge defenses deep. We saw this on Oakland's second scoring march, with Carr unfurling a 38-yard rope to Amari Cooper before hitting Andre Holmes for a 34-yard scoring strike to give the Raiders a 14-13 lead. Carr also threw a pair of costly picks, including a crushing lob that landed in the arms of Vikings cornerback Terence Newman with just under four minutes to play.

Every game, all season

3. Peterson's heroics took some of the heat off a 31st-ranked Vikings' air attack that deserves its low ranking. Bridgewater has thrown for under 250 yards in seven of nine starts this season after dialing up just 140 yards against the Raiders. His 22 attempts were fewer than Peterson's 26 carries. The Vikings signal-caller is careful with the ball and runs Norv Turner's scheme with poise, but he doesn't offer you the deep-strike talents of Carr.

4. It's lost in the win, but Kyle Rudolph isn't playing up to his natural talent. The Vikings tight end dropped a pass in the end zone that would have put the Vikings up 14-0. He was all alone and Bridgewater put the pigskin on the money. No excuses.

5. Cordarrelle Patterson sighting: The enigmatic wideout scorched Oakland with a sizzling 93-yard kick return to put the Vikings up 20-14 before the half. Still, it was concerning to see Stefon Diggs held to one catch over the first 30 minutes and just 46 yards on the day after piling up just 42 yards in Week 9.

6. Minnesota's sixth-ranked defense hasn't gotten its due this season. Space-eating nose tackle Linval Joseph played another fine game while Harrison Smith operated again as a hard-hitting, hammer-dropping safety. The Raiders, though, took advantage of fellow safety Andrew Sendejo, who was fried during Carr's two-touchdown second quarter. Still, this Vikings team is a tough out.

7. With Green Bay (6-3) inexplicably falling to the Lions on Sunday, underrated Minnesota now stands alone atop the NFC North. The Vikings play the suddenly sinking Packers next week before facing a rough three-game stretch against the Falcons, Seahawks and Cardinals. As for the Raiders, they're teed up for winnable games against the Lions and Titans before a rugged three-week stretch that pits Oakland against the Chiefs, Broncos and Packers