MINNEAPOLIS — Everyone in the stadium knows Adrian Peterson is going to get the ball. No one seems to know how to stop him once he does.
With Peterson's sights set on 2,000 yards rushing, his latest jaw-dropping performance also made sure the Vikings can keep their eyes on the playoffs.
Peterson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries, and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a score Sunday to lead a 21-14 victory over the free-falling Bears.
Peterson topped 100 yards in the first quarter as the Vikings overcame another lackluster day from quarterback Christian Ponder and got a victory that keeps their playoff hopes alive.
"The guy's unbelievable," Ponder, a former FSU standout, said of his star running back. "I don't know if he's human or not."
Jay Cutler was 22-for-44 for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and couldn't finish for the Bears, who have lost four of five. He took a hit to the head from defensive end Everson Griffen in the fourth quarter and played the rest of that drive but was replaced by Jason Campbell with 3 minutes left.
Cutler had a neck injury, the Bears said. "It started stiffening up more and more," Cutler said. "I just have to take it day by day."
Campbell threw a 16-yard TD pass to Brandon Marshall with 1:48 to play. Kyle Rudolph recovered the onside kick.
Not even a year removed from a torn ACL, Peterson has 1,600 yards with three games to play, putting a 2,000-yard season within reach. He ran for 51 yards on the opening play and continued to gash the broken-down Bears the rest of the way.
"I think about it," Peterson said of 2,000 yards. "I don't try to think about it too much. I feel like it will happen. It's obvious we're going to continue to run the ball, and the chips will fall where they may."