Adrian Peterson hopes to rebound, get first win at Chicago since 2007
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Adrian Peterson's first breakout performance in the NFL came at Soldier Field, notching his first-ever 200-yard game and multi-touchdown performance during the last Minnesota Vikings victory over the Chicago Bears on the road.
That was in 2007.
On Sunday, Peterson will look to rebound from an uneven game in the loss to the Detroit Lions and give the Vikings their first win at Chicago in seven years.
"We kind of got beat up a little bit up front [by Detroit]. Not really executing. When I was able to look at the tape, that was the biggest thing," Peterson said.
In Peterson's career, the Vikings are 1-5 at Soldier Field. Only five players remain from the 2007 team that won: linebacker Chad Greenway, defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Fred Evans, long snapper Cullen Loeffler and Peterson.
Since 2000, the Vikings are an astounding 2-12 in the Windy City.
But that hasn't stopped Peterson, who averages 106 yards and 1.3 touchdowns on the ground in six games at Soldier Field. He's faltered in recent years, with his stats buoyed by the remarkable 224-yard, three-touchdown performance in 2007.
"Everytime I don't get 100 [yards], I think 'wow,'" Peterson said. "Because it's so easy to get 100."
Peterson didn't reach that mark last week against Detroit, wilting to less than a yard per carry after his 78-yard touchdown run to open the game. Peterson finished with 93 rushing yards and hasn't cracked the 100-yard mark in an opener since 2009.
But the NFL MVP isn't too worried about falling short against the Bears.
"[The Bears] have good D-tackles, but they're not Detroit up front," Peterson said. "Not to take anything away from those guys, Julius Peppers, they got great guys as well. We just need to go and be physical, make our presence felt."
Statistically, the Vikings' main worry is Peppers -- who has 111.5 career sacks and is still churning in his 12th year in the league. The rest of the Bears' defensive line consists of defensive tackle Henry Melton, nosetackle Stephen Paea and defensive end Corey Wootten.
Peppers' veteran savvy dwarfs his relatively young cohorts, who combine for 28.5 career sacks and nine years of NFL experience. Vikings' left tackle Matt Kalil has struggled so far in his second year, but did not allow a sack to Peppers in two games last season.
Kalil said he's confident that the offensive line and, in turn, Peterson, will get things straightened out despite a historically tough game in Chicago.
"Like I'm freaking out, 'oh, I got beat a couple times, my season is over.' Nah, it's just a couple things," Kalil said. "Learning how to use my peripheral vision. We go on silent count the whole time in crowd atmospheres cause it gets so loud."
Peppers was sent home from Thursday's practice after exhibiting flu-like symptoms, but Bears' coach Marc Trestman said he's not worried about his availability for Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune.