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Peterson resurrects assault on history after two-week layoff

Like Chicago's returning dynamo Devin Hester, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is ridiculous.

He is attempting to become the seventh rookie since 1955 to lead the NFL in rushing, joining Alan Ameche in 1955, Jim Brown in 1957, Earl Campbell in 1978, George Rogers in 1981, Eric Dickerson in 1983 and Edgerrin James in 1999.

But Peterson is hardly the only Viking making headlines. Don't discount Tarvaris Jackson, who has gone from the lowest-rated quarterback in the league this season to a player who could be sticking around Minnesota for quite awhile.

Above all else, Jackson has helped the Vikings turn around their 2-5 and 3-6 records to where they now stand with a 6-6 record, poised to make the playoffs. Jackson has won his past four starts. He has posted a 6-2 record as a starter this season, his only losses coming at Detroit and at Dallas.

Now Jackson gets another road game, at San Franicsco, in which the Vikings can continue to measure the growth of their 2006 second-round draft pick out of Alabama State. But so far, it has been noticeable.

During Sunday's win over Detroit, Jackson completed 18 of 24 passes for 204 yards -- his first 200-yard passing game in the NFL. He has a quarterback rating well over 100 in each of the Vikings' past two games.

He has done it with the benefit of the league's best 1-2 running back combination, Peterson and Chester Taylor. But no matter how he is doing it, he is showing the type of progress and promise the Vikings had hoped he would.

Now Jackson enters the last quarter of the season, with a schedule favorable to the Vikings' postseason chances. Minnesota plays at San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, and finishes the season at Denver.

Not only has Minnesota's late surge helped Jackson's standing, but it has done the same for coach Brad Childress. He has gone, in the words of one Vikings official, "from being pretty safe to definitely safe."

Swimming with the Fish

In the first three starts of his rookie season, Dolphins quarterback John Beck has led Miami to as many touchdowns as the team has wins this season ... zero.

Last time Miami scored an offensive touchdown was Nov. 11 against the Bills, as time expired in the third quarter. Since then, the Dolphins have gone 13 straight quarters without an offensive touchdown. But this is not the streak that worries the Dolphins locker room.

The one that does is their unwelcome assault on history, with the chance to become the NFL's first all-time 0-16 team.

"It definitely crosses your mind," Dolphins defensive tackle Keith Traylor admitted after Sunday's loss to the Jets.

Other teams have lived in the neighborhood that this year's Dolphins team now resides. The 1976 Buccaneers finished their season 0-14. Others challenged the winless mark but didn't quite reach it. The 2001 Detroit Lions opened 0-12. The 1986 Colts opened 0-13. The 1980 Saints opened 0-14. And the 1977 Buccaneers opened 0-12. Those teams managed to win at least one game.

Now these Dolphins are attempting to do the same, but the situation is growing increasingly bleak. As it is, Miami has lost 15 straight games dating to last season, becoming the first NFL team since the 2001 Carolina Panthers to lose 15 in a row.

But with the way Miami's schedule shapes up, the Dolphins soon could hold their own slice of history.

Miami plays Sunday at Buffalo, comes home for Baltimore, goes back on the road to New England, then finishes at home vs. Cincinnati.

The streaker

Green Bay's trainers expect quarterback Brett Favre, despite his separated left shoulder and banged-up right arm, will be able to start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

If so, it would continue football's ironman streak, giving Favre a preposterous 250 straight starts. But Favre knows off-season surgery awaits, should he opt for it.

The legend of Favre is about to grow, along with the number of surgeries he has had and will need.

Favre has already undergone two left ankle surgeries, one of which came after last season. Now he needs surgery on his right ankle, Favre confirmed last week while in Dallas for Thursday night's game against the Cowboys. Favre has bone spurs in his right ankle that have become increasingly uncomfortable for him this season. He knows he needs the surgery, the question is when.

He plans to put it off until after the season, at the earliest. But it also adds to the Favre legend, with him accomplishing all he has this season with bone spurs in his right ankle and now all the aches he is going to have in his left shoulder and right arm.

Phat Albert

Here's all the evidence anyone needs as to why the Titans plan to slap their franchise tag on defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth after this season:

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