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'Purple Jesus' has Vikings running among NFL's elite teams

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The Vikings weren't supposed to get pummeled by the 49ers in the season opener, but they were.

Adrian Peterson wasn't supposed to be this good at 30 years old, but he is.

Mike Zimmer wasn't supposed to turn the Vikings' defense around this fast, but he has.

And the Packers weren't supposed to relinquish a three-game lead in the division, but they have.

Minnesota (7-2) leads the Packers (6-3), but why the major turnaround for both teams? MMQB's Andy Benoit thinks he has the answer:

"1. Their offense has a distinct identity, centered around Adrian Peterson and the power running game.

2. Their defense is young, fast in all the right places and very well-schemed.

3. The rival Packers currently have a poorly coached, mediocre offense that happens to be led by a phenomenal quarterback. (And that quarterback has been inconsistent lately.)"

Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 961 yards and the old man running back was simply breaking records against the Raiders. He tied O.J. Simpson for the most 200-yard games in NFL history (6) and he passed Randy Moss for the most plays of 50-plus yards in Vikings history, ESPN says.

In addition to Peterson running wild, the Vikings' defense is the No. 1 scoring defense in the league pending the Bengals-Texans game Monday night.

Jim Souhan called Peterson the team's MVP, adding that the Vikings have "climbed into first place one handoff at a time."'s Michael Silver referred to Peterson as the "Purple Jesus," saying "no one has a prayer of stopping him."

If Peterson leads the Vikings over the Packers this week, it's going to be tough to stop the Vikings from winning the North – and possibly earning a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

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