HOUSTON - The Minnesota Vikings don't need record-setting days from Adrian Peterson to stay in the playoff race.
Peterson rushed for 86 yards, falling far short of the 2,000-yard mark, yet helping the Vikings (9-6) keep their postseason chances alive with a 23-6 upset of the Texans on Sunday. Christian Ponder threw a touchdown pass, Toby Gerhart added a score and Blair Walsh kicked three field goals as the Vikings won their third straight.
The win raises the stakes for the Vikings, who host Green Bay next Sunday in the regular-season finale.
"We obviously have a big one next week, and if we don't win that one, this one doesn't mean anything," Ponder said. "Our No. 1 goal is to make the playoffs."
The loss kept the Texans (12-3) from clinching home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They could still secure a first-round bye if Denver loses later Sunday, and would claim home-field advantage with a win next week at Indianapolis.
"Very disappointing because we had a chance to line up here and get something done today," coach Gary Kubiak said. "That doesn't mean we still can't get it done. That's the most important thing."