MINNEAPOLIS — Adrian Peterson's tumultuous week ended with a quiet game. The Carolina Panthers made all the noise.
Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score, and the Panthers romped past Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings 35-10 on Sunday.
Peterson finished with 62 yards on 10 carries and 21 yards on three receptions, but the Vikings (1-4) trailed the whole game and didn't have much use after halftime for Peterson. The NFL MVP learned on Friday a 2-year-old son of his died in South Dakota of injuries from alleged abuse.
"It's tough. It's a crazy situation," Peterson said. "Anytime you lose a child, no matter the circumstances, it hurts. I can't describe it. But I've got a good supporting cast surrounding me."
Matt Cassel threw two interceptions, both to Mike Mitchell, and the Panthers (2-3) responded each time with a touchdown.
Whether the team was distracted by the tragedy or not, the Vikings were thoroughly embarrassed on both sides of the ball by a team that had 11 penalties, seven sacks allowed and only six points in defeat the week before.
Newton perhaps was at his best since he was a rookie two years ago, finishing with 242 yards on 20 for 26 and with 30 yards on nine rushes. He threw for scores to Steve Smith and Mike Tolbert in the first half to cap long, commanding drives, and found Brandon LaFell for a 79-yard touchdown to start the third quarter.
Tolbert scored on a short run in the fourth, too, and many of the fans who spent the afternoon booing quickly bolted from their seats to try to beat traffic.
DeAngelo Williams had 64 yards on 17 rushes, and the Panthers finally put together a complete performance after leading at halftime in every game, but stumbling through several stretches of ineffective offense.