Peterson carries Vikings into playoffs, falls short of record

6:31 AM, Dec 31, 2012   |    comments
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
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Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Adrian Peterson came up just short in achieving his goal. His team did not.

The superstar running back fell nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's NFL record for most rushing yards in a season, but still put up 199 on a career-best 34 carries while scoring two touchdowns to help the Minnesota Vikings earn a berth in the NFC Playoffs with a thrilling 37-34 last-second victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Peterson's final rush -- a 26-yard burst to the Green Bay 11 with three seconds remaining -- set up Blair Walsh's 29-yard field goal that snapped a 34-34 deadlock and earned Minnesota (10-6) the conference's No. 6 playoff seed after closing out the regular season with four straight wins.

Walsh's kick also forced a rematch between the two NFC North rivals in next week's Wild Card Round, with Green Bay (11-5) denied a chance to claim the No. 2 seed and an opening-round bye after San Francisco defeated Arizona on Sunday.

Exactly one year to the day of his surgery to repair a potentially career- threatening knee injury, Peterson finished his remarkable 2012 campaign with 2,097 rushing yards to become the seventh player in league history to surpass the 2,000-yard barrier.

Christian Ponder aided Minnesota's cause by matching a personal best with three touchdown passes, including one to Peterson, while going an efficient 16-of-28 for 234 yards without a turnover. Jarius Wright finished with 90 receiving yards and a score on three catches for a Vikings squad that will reach the playoffs just one year removed from a 3-13 season.

Aaron Rodgers threw for four touchdowns while amassing 365 yards on 28-of-40 passing for Green Bay, leading the Packers out of a 13-point first-half hole to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter.

Greg Jennings hauled in two of Rodgers' scoring strikes while recording 120 yards on eight grabs.


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