Adrian Peterson averaging most yards in division games since NFL merger

Peterson aims to move up all-time rushing list (2:07)

ESPN NFL analyst Damien Woody handicaps Adrian Peterson's chances to challenge Emmitt Smith's career rushing record. (2:07)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Coming off a week when he gained a modest 60 yards on 26 carries, as the gears of the Minnesota Vikings' run game ground against a Chiefs defense intent on stopping the run, Adrian Peterson might have no better way to boost his production than back-to-back games against two of the teams he sees the most.

Few players in the NFL have dominated their division opponents the way Peterson has against the Bears, Lions and Packers. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Peterson's 113.7 yards per game in NFC North contests are the most by any running back since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Peterson's figure is exactly nine yards better than that of Barry Sanders, who ran through NFC Central defenses in the 1990s. And as the Vikings head to Detroit to face the Lions' 26th-ranked run defense this weekend, Peterson will play in Ford Field for the first time since he kicked off the 2013 season with a 78-yard touchdown run on the Vikings' first play.

"It's definitely going to be loud," Peterson said. "The best way to deal with a loud stadium is to silence them. We'll try to do that early."

Peterson ran for 134 yards on 29 carries in the Vikings' Week 2 win against the Lions -- one of four 100-yard days he's had in six games against NFC North opponents since the beginning of 2013 -- and added another 58 receiving yards in the Vikings' first victory of the year. He said the Lions' remade run front is "a lot sharper" than it was in September, but he feels much better than he did in just his second game back from his 15-game absence in 2014.

"I'm a totally different player, a better player than I was in Week 2 when I played those guys," he said. "I'm even more excited about that. I don't know what they're thinking over there, but I know what I'm thinking, and I don't feel like my best foot was forward when we played those guys last."

The Chiefs sent a handful of run blitzes after Peterson early in Sunday's game, firing a defensive back toward the line of scrimmage just before the snap. That could continue if teams are focused on stopping Peterson and daring Teddy Bridgewater to beat them. It happened frequently during Peterson's MVP season of 2012, and though the running back isn't peeling off 30- and 40-yard runs with the regularity he was that year, he's tied for second in the league with five runs of 20 yards or more this year.

"Just keep cramming away," Peterson said. "Sooner or later, something will happen. I know we called three or four plays (last week), maybe a second or two longer (on the) block or push, it was springing out there for a big one, a 40- or 50-yard run. And that's with the blitz and the things they were presenting to us. It's all about taking advantage of those opportunities when they come.