Congratulations, Vikings, You've Squandered Adrian Peterson's Greatness

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIDecember 2, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 25:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 25, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 28-10.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Forget about the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, Minnesota Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson is in the midst of a full-on assault to end the season as the league's Most Valuable Player.

It seems the only thing standing in Peterson's way is the Vikings' ability to hold their place in line for one of the NFC wild card spots. Though that took a major blow with Sunday's 23-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Football is arguably the ultimate team game, and no player should ever throw his teammates under the bus. But how much more could Peterson have done on Sunday?

How much more could the superstar running back be doing this season for Minnesota?

Peterson galloped all over Green Bay's defense to the tune of 21 carries for 210 yards and a score on Sunday. Through 12 games, he has tallied 1,446 yards and eight touchdowns on just 234 carries.

Expectations with Peterson in 2012—just nine months removed from an ACL injury—were tempered. His performance has thwarted all doubts about a healthy recovery now.

Both Peterson's and the Vikings' season can be looked at in two halves. And coincidentally, the results are baffling.

Minnesota shot out of the gate with a 4-2 record, but it wasn't until Week 7 that Peterson really began to hit his stride. Since then the running back has rushed for 947 yards and six touchdowns on 121 carries, but the Vikings are just 2-4 in that span.

Failing to capitalize on Peterson's historic—and borderline unbelievable—run has this team now on the outside of the playoff picture.

Can you imagine where the Vikings would be in 2012 if Peterson was having just an average season—one that we would all still be marveling over?

Though it is nearly impossible to speculate, one thing is for certain: Peterson has taken back his spot atop the NFL's running back hierarchy.

The Vikings close the season at home against the Chicago Bears on the road against the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans, and finish with those same Packers at home, not a stretch all that conducive to ending the year on a high note.

However, Minnesota can hang its hat on Peterson, though this story would be better written if Peterson had somewhere to hang his.


Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.