MINNEAPOLIS – Adrian Peterson is a father again. He’s getting in the end zone again, too.
Hours after his wife gave birth to a son, Peterson ran 20 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns – the star running back’s first scores since Nov. 24, 2013 – in the Minnesota Vikings’ 31-14 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
The Vikings defense had a big day as well, as coach Mike Zimmer sent pressure again and again at Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Linebacker Chad Greenway all but sealed the decision with a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown with 13:57 to go.
Ashley Peterson gave birth Sunday morning to the couple’s second child, Axyl Eugene Peterson, the Vikings said. Axyl is the seventh known child for Adrian Peterson, who told USA TODAY Sports during camp he intended to play even if his wife, who was due Oct. 4, was in labor.
Peterson, 30, missed all but one game last season following his indictment for injuring his 4-year-old son while disciplining the boy with a wooden switch. He pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge in November 2014 but wasn’t reinstated by the NFL until April 16.
After rushing for just 31 yards on 10 carries Sept. 14 at San Francisco, Peterson has turned in consecutive 100-yard rushing performances in a pair of Vikings wins at TCF Bank Stadium. His play Sunday helped cover up an uninspiring day from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was 13-of-23 passing for 121 yards with an interception.
A 2-yard score with 9:05 left in the first half gave the Vikings a 10-0 lead, and his second TD on Sunday was vintage. Peterson bounced outside, stiff-armed safety Jimmy Wilson, outran linebacker Kyle Emanuel’s dive and then ran over safety Eric Weddle for a 43-yard score.
It was that type of day for the Chargers, who lost left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) and cornerback Jason Verett (foot) to injuries. Rivers was hit repeatedly, including a shot from blitzing linebacker Anthony Barr that left him doubled over in pain and forced San Diego to take a timeout in the third quarter.
The Vikings lost cornerback Xavier Rhodes (head) when he collided with teammate Andrew Sendejo on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Keenan Allen that cut Minnesota’s lead to 10-7 just before halftime. The Chargers didn’t score again until backup quarterback Kellen Clemens hit Allen for a 19-yard TD with 32 seconds to go.
Vikings receiver Charles Johnson (rib) also was banged up.