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Preview: Vikings at Texans


The Green Bay Packers couldn't stop Adrian Peterson. Neither could the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks or Detroit Lions. The Chicago Bears failed to corral him on two occasions. The St. Louis Rams didn't even slow him down. Having left a slew of formidable defenses in his path, Peterson resumes his charge toward NFL rushing history as he leads his Minnesota Vikings into a pivotal Week 16 showdown with fellow superstar Arian Foster and the host Houston Texans.

Peterson is in the midst of the most incredible stretch of games by any running back in the history of football. A year removed from major knee surgery, the 27-year-old is just 294 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 set in 1985. Peterson trampled the Rams for 212 yards and a score in last week's 36-22 victory, a result that kept Minnesota's playoff hopes alive. The Vikings will be in tough against a Texans team that owns the AFC's top seed and is coming off a 29-17 win over Indianapolis.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Texans -9.5, O/U 45

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (8-6): While Peterson has reduced defenses to rubble, the Minnesota passing game remains a major work in progress. Despite seeing more man-to-man coverages downfield as teams look to slow Peterson, quarterback Christian Ponder has failed to take advantage. Ponder leads the NFL's worst pass offense, averaging just over 168 yards per game.The loss of top target Percy Harvin (knee), the inconsistency of rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph and the ineffectiveness of deep threat Jerome Simpson have all contributed to Ponder's struggles. The Vikings are clinging to the second NFL wild-card berth but will likely need to win out in order to secure a playoff spot.

ABOUT THE TEXANS (12-2): Houston needed a strong bounce-back effort following a Monday night embarrassment at the hands of the New England Patriots - and last weekend's victory over Indianapolis provided just that. Foster (27 carries, 165 yards) and Andre Johnson (11 catches, 151 yards, TD) torched the Colts' defense while the Houston defense sacked Andrew Luck five times. Foster, who leads the league with 14 rushing touchdowns, is expected to get the bulk of the work against Minnesota in anticipation of a lighter day next week when the Texans finish their season with a rematch against the Colts. A win over the Vikings will secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Foster surprised members of the Texans' offensive line with Segways on Wednesday, calling it his "way of giving back to the big fellas."

2. Peterson has amassed 1,313 rushing yards in the last eight weeks - equaling Foster's output for the entire season.

3. Texans LB J.J. Watt needs 3 1/2 sacks over the final two games of the season to break the single-season record of 22 1/2 held by former New York Giants great Michael Strahan.

PREDICTION: Texans 24, Vikings 17.

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NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas, USA.
Capacity: 71,500

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Last Injuries

Houston Texans

  • Lamar Miller

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Miller has been shifted to the active PUP list as he is rehabbing a torn ALC that cost him the entire 2019 season. How long he remains on the shelf is up in the air.

  • Kenny Stills

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Stills is on the active Non-Football Injury list with an illness, and he will miss an extended period.

  • Gareon Conley

    Ankle
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Conley has been designated for the active PUP list after undergoing ankle surgery. It is up in the air when he will be activated.

  • Xavier Su'a-Filo

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Su'a-Filo will spend an undetermined length of time on the active PUP list while healing from a knee injury that ended his 2019 season.

  • Dylan Cole

    Knee
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Cole has been placed on the active PUP list after having surgery on his right ACL. There is no timetable for recovery.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Cameron Smith

    Illness
    I-R | I-R

    Smith has reverted to the Injured Reserve/Non-Football Illness list after clearing waivers from having open-heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve.

  • Oli Udoh

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Udoh has come in contact with the COVID-19 virus, and the team has put him on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list as a result. The severity of the illness is unknown.

  • Cameron Smith

    Illness
    I-R | I-R

    Smith has been posted on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and also requires open-heart surgery to fix a congenital defect.

  • Ben Gedeon

    Undisclosed
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Gedeon is on the active PUP list due to an unspecified ailment. The severity of it is unknown.

  • Armon Watts

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Watts has been placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss an extended period.

  • Anthony Barr

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Barr is been moved to the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it is unclear when it will be safe for him to get back on the field.

  • Blake Brandel

    Illness
    Ques Week 1 | questionable

    Brandel has been activated from the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it is uncertain if he will take the field against the Packers in Week 1.