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Peterson not absolved in ailing Vikings' offense

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The last time the Cleveland Browns saw Adrian Peterson was the 2009 season opener, which also was Brett Favre's debut as a Viking. Peterson crushed the Browns in Cleveland that day, running for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

One of his runs -- in which he took a sweep left, stopped near the sideline and used his right forearm to bat Browns defensive back Eric Wright out of bounds -- elicited comparisons to Jim Brown and still ranks as one of Peterson's top three favorite runs in his career.

Sunday, however, Peterson was bottled up as well as he has been in the past three seasons. He ran for only 88 yards on 25 carries, a 3.5-yard average with a long of only nine yards. And for the second game in a row, Peterson lost a fumble.

"(Teams) are stacking the box a little more and those guys on the other side of the ball are pretty good," Peterson said. "We have to come out and be consistent. All of these short runs of five and six yards, that's what you ask for is the run game being efficient. That opens it up for the pass and that happened to us. We just had opportunities that we just did not take advantage of. That's just what it comes down to."

Peterson now has 369 yards in three games. He needs to average 163.9 yards in his final 13 games to reach his stated goal of 2,500 yards.

Fans at the Metrodome had enough after Ponder dumped a short, check-down pass to Peterson that fell far short of the first-down marker on third-and-10 early in the third quarter. It came early in the third quarter and led to one of the Vikings' six three-and-outs.

With Ponder and the offense trudging off the field early once again, the crowd began chanting, "Let's go, Cassel!"

"I think it's impossible to not hear them," Ponder said. "But we want to win just as bad as the fans and as bad as anyone else. We're more disappointed than they are."

Perhaps relocating for one week for a home game in London will give the Vikings' sputtering offense more support -- and traction.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are allowing 115.3 rushing yards per game, tied for 22nd in the NFL.

In one career game against the Steelers, Peterson rushed 18 times for 69 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 60 yards.