Vikings burn Bengals

MINNEAPOLIS – Brad Childress uses video clips, a dry wit and his psychology degree to address the Minnesota Vikings in team meetings the night before games, and for this week’s message the coach used an auto racing analogy.

That lopsided loss last week at Arizona? Just a pit stop, Childress insisted.

Adrian Peterson ran 26 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns, pushing the Vikings past the mistake-prone Cincinnati Bengals in a bruising 30-10 victory on Sunday.

“We wanted to come out and show to ourselves that this is the Vikings team you have seen all year,” said Peterson, who added 40 yards receiving and set a single-season franchise record with 14 rushing touchdowns.

Minnesota (11-2) clinched a spot in the playoffs and moved within one win – or one Green Bay loss – of a second straight NFC North title. Brett Favre wasn’t great, completing 17 of 30 passes for 192 yards, one touchdown and an interception, but the defense delivered an inspired effort while welcoming back hard-hitting cornerback Antoine Winfield.

“They sent a message and set a tone early in the game,” said Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson, whose 16 carries for 96 yards gave him his first 1,000-yard season. “Today was a big learning lesson. We’ve got a lot of young guys, and I don’t think that many guys have had that playoff run opportunity. Today was a playoff game if you ask me.”

Cincinnati (9-4) committed 11 penalties for 85 yards and failed to clinch the AFC North when Baltimore won.

Migraines kept standout rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin out, robbing Favre of his trusty third-down target. But against the league’s top defense in that category, the Vikings converted eight of 14 opportunities. They also hung a season-high total on the NFL’s stingiest scoring defense.

The Bengals saw their team-record streak of eight straight games holding the other team under 100 yards rushing end.