2012 NFL Week 16 Breakdown: Minnesota Vikings vs. Houston Texans
Minnesota looks to continue their playoff push when they travel to Houston on Sunday. The Texans have already clinched the AFC South and seek to clinch home field with a win over Minnesota, but the Vikings have other plans. Minnesota has won two in a row and is looking to run to victory on the back of RB Adrian Peterson.
Peterson is currently sitting at 1812 yards on the season and needs an additional 294 to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. Houston sports the league’s 5th ranked rushing defense, but that comes with a major asterisk: they have yet to face Adrian Peterson. The man known as All Day has shredded defenses with similar pedigree, proving himself to be practically unstoppable this season. Still, one has to wonder when the Vikings’ one man show will come to an end.
As good as Peterson is, he’s still going up against 11 top-tier NFL defenders who are more aware than ever about his accomplishments. Every week teams continue to ignore the “threat” posed by Christian Ponder and the Vikings’ pass attack in favor of doing everything they can to stop Peterson, but every week a different defense fails miserably. At this point there are no surprises. Peterson will get the ball early and often, while the Vikings receivers will more than likely fail to gain any separation. It will likely come down to what Peterson can do by himself, and despite Houston’s stellar defense it is impossible to count A.D. out.
The biggest problem for Peterson may not be the Houston defense; the Vikings’ chances of winning the game also rest in large part on the defense, who have their work cut out for them. Receiver Andre Johnson has been on a tear of late, averaging a Calvin-like 153 receiving yards per game. Minnesota will also have to deal with Arian Foster and the 5th ranked rushing attack, and all of this does not bode well for Minnesota. The Vikings need to stay in games so that they can continue to feed Peterson the ball, and because of this Houston will likely come out aggressive. An early Houston lead would spell trouble for both the Vikings and Peterson’s rushing record chances, so for the sake of excitement let’s hope that Matt Schaub and Co. don’t go for blood.