EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -It would have been easy for Brad Childress to let this one slide.
His Minnesota Vikings were preparing for a game they absolutely needed to win in a situation - on the road and outdoors - where they have struggled historically.
So when star running back Adrian Peterson arrived late to the team's weekly pregame meeting Saturday, it would have been hard to blame the coach for looking the other way to keep his best player on the field against Jacksonville.
But the no-nonsense Childress made a gutsy move and sent his team a blunt message: rules apply to everyone.
Childress benched Peterson for the first two series against the Jaguars on Sunday, starting Chester Taylor in his place as the Vikings fought to keep pace with the Bears and Packers atop the NFC North.
`Not at all. Everybody understands what the ground rules are.''
``We don't have a lot of rules,'' he added. ``But if you set your fence posts deep, there are some rules that are non-negotiable. Really don't care if it's a practice squad guy or, as you say, the best player on the team.''
Peterson entered the game as the NFL's leading rusher, and it's no secret that the success of the offense hinges primarily on his broad shoulders and razor-sharp cuts.
Starting cornerback Cedric Griffin also was benched for being late.
The Vikings jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first 2 minutes of the game thanks to the turnover-prone Jaguars en route to a 30-12 victory, but the gravity of benching the team's most explosive player was not lost on his team.
The effect on the field may have been minimal, but it was a different story in the locker room.
``That's Brad tightening us up a little bit,'' tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said Monday. ``We have to have some discipline in here and that's what Brad did. He established that discipline and everybody has to walk that straight line because one thing can affect everybody. That's pretty good that he took charge like that.''
Peterson owned up to his mistake after the game and said he understood the coach's decision.
onnas,'' Peterson said. ``Whatever the situation is, no matter the extent of it, you just have to accept the consequences.
``Really wasn't that big and it's over now.''
Oh, but it was big, Adrian.
The Vikings entered the game at 5-5 and tied with Chicago and Green Bay for first place in the division. They were 1-4 on the road this season and had not won a game played outdoors since Dec. 9 at San Francisco last season.
In his third year on the job, Childress' critics have grown more and more restless and there has been speculation his job could be in jeopardy if the Vikings miss the playoffs again this season.
But ever since Childress took over before the 2006 season, he has made it a point to instill some order in an organization that lacked any semblance of it under previous coach Mike Tice.
``Everybody else is accountable. They are accountable as well,'' Childress said of Peterson and Griffin.
In the end, it all worked out. The Vikings (6-5) overwhelmed the Jags in the second half to set up a showdown with Chicago at the Metrodome on Sunday night. Peterson finished with 80 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.
And Childress gained a level of respect, both in the locker room and outside it, for taking a stand.
ave to make sure we abide by the rules, no matter who we are.''
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