Can Packers find a way to control Adrian Peterson?
Vikings running back averaging 204.5 yards against Green Bay
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson rushed for 210 yards at Green Bay the first time. He was, uh, limited to 199 yards for Minnesota in the most recent meeting.
So how much more can this man do? Will the Packers be able to finally stop him with their third try?
That's an issue for this Saturday at Lambeau Field in a playoff game full of intriguing story lines, when the Vikings and Packers will renew their rivalry in the wild-card round. Peterson carried the Vikings into the postseason with another standout performance in the 37-34 victory Sunday, even though the Packers continually sent a safety up to the line to crowd his running lanes as if he was on a blitz.
"They were a lot more physical in that game than they had been before," Vikings fullback Jerome Felton said. "I think they were trying to box everything and keep it in the middle. I just remember thinking, 'Man, they're coming downhill.' But I think we're just such a physical team that it wears on people. So he didn't have the 80-yard run, and he still had 200 yards rushing."
Peterson had an 82-yard touchdown sprint on Dec. 2 during the 23-14 defeat in Green Bay, but his longest run on Sunday was 28 yards.
"I look forward to us having a better performance on defense," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
"I'm sure they'll come up with another wrinkle when we play them again," coach Leslie Frazier said.
Chiefs get No. 1
Kansas City owns the No. 1 choice in the April draft.
Kansas City and Jacksonville each finished 2-14, but the Chiefs had the weaker schedule, earning them the top selection.
The rest of the top 20 picks were announced Monday by the NFL. Oakland is third, followed by Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo, the New York Jets and Tennessee. Then come San Diego, Miami, Tampa Bay, Carolina, New Orleans, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Dallas, the New York Giants, and Chicago.
The remainder of the selections, including the Seahawks, will be determined by playoff results.
• Ron Rivera survived "Black Monday," but the future of the Panthers coach remains uncertain. Carolina's coach stayed in limbo as he awaits a meeting, which might be Wednesday, with owner Jerry Richardson to learn his fate. The Panthers (7-9) won five of their last six games to finish in second place in the NFC South, a game better than Rivera's first season.
• Mark Sanchez believes he'll be back with the team in 2013. "I just had a good talk with Rex (Ryan, head coach), and I know we're destined for great stuff here," Sanchez said. "I know we can be successful here. That's what I'm focused on. I'm excited to come back next year and do my very best."
• Coach Jim Harbaugh sent the 49ers into a mandatory three-day break to "rest their minds, rest their bodies." Meanwhile, the coaches will now spend much of their energy and efforts studying the Washington Redskins — the one team among the Niners' three possible opponents they have yet to face this season. The 49ers also parted ways for good with running back Brandon Jacobs, an expected move after the outspoken player was suspended for the final three games.
• In probably his last NFL-related ruling, U.S. District Judge David Doty sided with the league this time. The NFL Players Association's claim of collusion by league owners was rejected on Monday in Minneapolis by Doty, who has previously sided with the players during more than two decades of judging NFL labor matters. The players filed their lawsuit in May, claiming the NFL imposed a secret salary cap during the uncapped 2010 season that cost the players at least $1 billion.
• Cleveland rookie running back Trent Richardson revealed he played most of the season with two broken ribs.
• Mike Munchak will be back as Titans coach for another year. Munchak announced owner Bud Adams' decision at his news conference Monday. The coach said Adams, who turns 90 Wednesday, understands the challenges the Titans faced when Munchak took over in February 2011.
• Chiefs veteran offensive lineman Ryan Lilja, who helped block for Peyton Manning during the Colts' Super Bowl-winning 2006 season, announced his retirement. Lilja said he was going to "hang it up" after the Kansas City Chiefs finished a 2-14 season with a 38-3 defeat against Denver.