MINNEAPOLIS It can be easy to forget, after the Minnesota Vikings' messy 21-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals brought them to 5-2 and in the thick of the NFC North hunt, that less than 10 months ago came one of the low points in the history of a franchise used to disappointment.
It was Christmas Eve when Adrian Peterson, the finest running back of his generation, writhed on the ground in a game against the Washington Redskins then was carted to the locker room. The future of the franchise seemed mortgaged on Peterson's torn ACL and MCL, which had come only months after he signed a seven-year, 100 million contract extension. The Vikings finished the year 3-13, their worst record since 1984. They had a star running back whose future was now in question, an unproven quarterback in Christian Ponder who finished his rookie year with as many touchdowns as interceptions, and, worse, a cloudy future for the entire franchise as it flirted with a move to Los Angeles.
Now the ...