EDEN PRAIRIE — The Minnesota Vikings don’t have a secret to success, really, because their formula is so obvious.
They used it again to beat the Chicago Bears and stay in the playoff chase.
“We won the way we’re designed to win,” coach Leslie Frazier said after the 21-14 victory Sunday. “We talk all the time to our team about what Viking ball is, and today was a perfect example of it.”
They took an early lead — 14-0 midway through the first quarter — which allowed them to turn Adrian Peterson loose for a career-high 31 carries that yielded 154 yards, a rather routine total for him these days. Then the defense went to work on trying to disrupt Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s rhythm, sacking him twice, forcing several errant throws and most importantly grabbing two interceptions.
“If we’re able to build some sort of lead, I think our defense can handle pretty much any offense in the league,” defensive end Brian Robison said Monday. “I really do believe that. ... We have to make sure we jump on every team we play and keep going at it that way.”
The Vikings (7-6) have led from start to finish in six of their seven wins this season. Only the opener against Jacksonville required a late rally. Without much proof they can move the ball in a hurry with long passes, comebacks are a lot harder to make happen. So this is the way it has to be for now, as long as Christian Ponder is unable to get comfortable in the pocket and regularly connect with his downfield receivers, open or not.
The Vikings sure aren’t shying away from this old-fashioned methodology, either.
“We’re probably not going to win a lot of games when we throw the ball 40 times. That’s not who we are. We’re not going to overcome two or three turnovers in a game. That’s not the way we’re built right now,” Frazier said.