MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Already stung by four turnovers and a missed extra point, the Minnesota Vikings were on the verge of another mess-up early in the fourth quarter.
Brooks Bollinger and Adrian Peterson banged into each other before the handoff on third-and-goal at the 8-yard line, and Chicago's Brian Urlacher closed in.
Peterson shook his shoulders, though, and Urlacher bit on the fake. The rookie raced left and into the end zone, giving the Vikings their first lead. They finished with their fifth straight victory, 20-13 over the Bears on Monday night to maintain control of the NFC's last wild-card spot.
"We kept plugging away, plugging away, and kept fighting," said Darren Sharper, who sealed the win with an interception at the goal line of Kyle Orton's long pass. "That's the sign of a good football team, and we have the potential to be a great football team."
Trampled by Peterson the last time they met, Urlacher and the Bears figured out how to stop Minnesota's star back for the better part of three quarters. Just not when it really counted.
"Couldn't finish," said Urlacher, who kept his sparse postgame comments to grouchy sentence fragments.
Tarvaris Jackson's career-high 249 yards passing were overshadowed by three interceptions, mistakes that added up to a 13-3 Bears lead until Peterson's first score early in the third.
Peterson finished with 78 yards on 20 carries, just enough to keep Minnesota (8-6) one game in front of New Orleans and Washington in the conference race. Defending NFC champion Chicago (5-9) was officially eliminated from contention.
"This was kind of the story of our season," tight end Greg Olsen said. "We just come up short at the end. It's tough. It's frustrating."
Peterson's play impressed everyone including Bollinger, who was subbing while Jackson sought treatment for a cramp in his calf."I was still going, 'What the?' when he made the move," Bollinger said. "But he made it happen."
Bollinger's dive forward on a draw play gave the Vikings the 2-point conversion and a 20-13 lead with 10:56 left, plenty of time for Chicago to come back.
Orton, though, didn't have it in him in his first start in two years. Too many of Orton's throws were way off target, though he completed 22 of 36 passes for 184 yards.