ST. LOUIS — The hope generated by the St. Louis Rams' late-season, three-game winning streak was squashed by a series of mistakes in the second quarter.
Adrian Peterson had an 82-yard touchdown run and defensive end Everson Griffen had a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown during Minnesota's 23-point, second-quarter explosion as the Vikings beat the Rams 36-22 Sunday.
"We had too many costly mistakes to have a chance to win this football game," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.
The Rams fell to 6-7-1 on the season, and although they aren't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they are out of the playoff picture for all practical purposes. They'll close out the season with road games against Tampa Bay and Seattle.
"That word -- playoffs -- I don't think about it because you have to take it one week at a time," Rams defensive end Chris Long said. "We would have to win two more after today. If you can't win the first out of three, you can't worry about the playoffs."
The Vikings improved to 8-6 and keep themselves in the hunt for an NFC playoff spot.
Peterson finished with 24 carries for 212 yards. The majority of his yards came on the 82-yard touchdown run and a 52-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"We played a lot of solid, good defensive snaps, but we had two that were not good," Fisher said.
Peterson has 1,812 rushing yard for the season, giving him a shot at Eric Dickerson's NFL record of 2,105 yards for the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.
Peterson needs 294 yards over his last two games to break the record.
"It's been in my sights for a while," Peterson said of Dickerson's record. "It's not something I'm focusing on, it's in the back of my mind, but I want to accomplish that. I want to let the chips fall where they may.
"I look at today's game. I could have had 300 (yards), but it wasn't meant to happen. We got the 'W,' we got closer. Let's move on."
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford completed 35 of 55 passes for 377 yards. He threw three short touchdown passes -- a 4-yard pass to rookie Brian Quick, a 5-yard pass to Danny Amendola and 6-yard pass to Lance Kendricks.
Bradford also fumbled a snap in his own territory, threw an errant pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown and was sacked four times.
Bradford's two turnovers in the second quarter led to 10 of the Vikings' points in the period.
"What we did was we allowed them to play to their strengths," Fisher said. "We allowed them to get up, and that allowed them to run the football and rush the passer. That's the way they are built."
Rams running back Steven Jackson had 13 carries for 73 yards.
With a 9-yard run late in the third quarter, Jackson became the 27th player in NFL history to rush for 10,000 or more yards in his career.
"That's one of the highlights of the day for me personally and for the fans who were here to see it," Fisher said. "It's a tremendous accomplishment. He's been a tremendous person to this franchise and this city. A great player."
The Rams scored their lone touchdown of the first half on a short jump ball to Quick in the right side of the end zone with 12:39 left in the second quarter.
It was Quick's second touchdown reception of the season.
The Vikings answered with 17 points in the next 4:14.
Peterson sprinted 82 yards up the middle on the Vikings' next play from scrimmage. Peterson had eight carries for eight yards before the touchdown.
Bradford fumbled a snap and Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway recovered the ball at the St. Louis 48, leading to a 50-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.
"(Center) Scott (Wells) said the ball slipped before it got there, it was sideways before it got there," Fisher said of the fumble.
The Vikings increased their lead when Griffen dropped back 15 yards in pass coverage and picked off a Bradford pass intended for tight end Lance Kendricks.
Griffen ran into the end zone with 8:33 left in the second quarter.
"I've got to be able to see that," Bradford said. "He's right there, can't throw one to him like that."
The Vikings began their first possession of the game at the St. Louis 45 after a 15-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels.
On third-and-goal from the St. Louis 5, Rams defensive end Robert Quinn had Ponder in his grasp, but Ponder escaped and ran for a touchdown to put the Vikings ahead 7-0.
Walsh added a 38-yard field goal with 3:11 left in the second quarter.
Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 57-yard field goal with one minute remaining in the first half.
The Vikings got the ball back and ended up getting a 42-yard field goal from Walsh on the final play of the first half.
A 53-yard field goal by Walsh gave the Vikings a 33-7 lead with 5:56 left in the third quarter.
Bradford's TD pass to Kendricks, along with a two-point conversion pass to Amendola, got the Rams within 11 points with 7:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
A 52-yard run by Peterson set up a 51-yard field goal by Walsh, his fifth in the game, including three of 50 or more yards, with 5:31 to go.
Any Rams' attempt at a comeback ended with an incomplete pass by Bradford on fourth down deep in Vikings territory with 1:18 to play.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.