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Zimmer: Vikings win by playing smart, defense and a lot of AP

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The Minnesota Vikings sit alone atop the NFC North division after beating the Falcons 20-10 Sunday in Atlanta. It was Minnesota's fourth-straight road win and has put the Vikings in great position to make the playoffs.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told reporters Monday that they continue to avoid mistakes and win close games.

The biggest ingredients in the Vikings victories have been a strong and physical defense, an offense that has avoided the critical mistakes and a power running game led by Adrian Peterson.

"Since I've walked in here it's been about preaching toughness, disciple and accountability," Zimmer said Monday. "This is just kind of who we are now."

It's that kind of recipe that Zimmer thinks will help his team win games late in the season in the NFC North.

That recipe will depend heavily on Peterson as the Vikings prepare for a difficult stretch run, but will he be able to repeat his 2012 performance when he ran for 2,097 yards, just missing Eric Dickerson's single season NFL rushing record.

The Star Tribune notes that Peterson isn't too far from his 2012 pace through 11 games.

AP By the numbers through 11 games

  • 2012: 213 carries, 1,236 yards – 112 yards per game, 5.8 yards per carry.
  • 2015: 237 carries, 1,164 yards – 106 yards per game, 4.9 yards per carry.

During those final five games in 2012 Peterson posted an incredible 861 yards rushing averaging 172 yards per game. To equal his 2012 feat this year Peterson would need to be even more impressive and average about 187 yards per game over the final five.

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