The Vikings will enter the NFC playoffs as the sixth seed and have no one to thank but their All-World running back Adrian Peterson.
Coming off a serious knee injury (tearing both his ACL and MCL) that occurred late last season, expectations for Peterson in 2012 ranged all across the board. But 2,000-plus rushing yards later—beginning the year less than nine months removed from surgery—one has to wonder whether or not he has returned better than ever.
While almost 2,100 yards is certainly nothing to scoff at, it has to be a bit disappointing to know that Peterson was about two carries or one more broken tackle away from the greatest season from a running back in NFL history.
However, most of the reaction on Twitter was solely focused on Peterson for his incredible season.
Peterson himself, however, put his team above his personal agenda:
First & foremost, giving all glory & honorto GOD because w/o him we wouldn't be sitting where we are now!! Getting ready for post season!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) December 31, 2012
Giving him all the glory again for this season I've had coming back from an ACL & MCL injury. Thank u to everyone who believed in me!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) December 31, 2012
It's bittersweet coming up 9 yds short of the record but I came into this game w my main focus being getting a "W". Mission accomplished!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) December 31, 2012
Peterson said all the right things, but this fan really wanted the running back to break the record:
Should've missed the field goal so Adrian Peterson could break the record!— Brian Pruett (@Brian_Pruett) December 31, 2012
Having Blair Walsh miss the game-winning, playoff-clinching field goal on purpose so that Peterson could break the record was about as improbable as Peterson's 2012 season was successful.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles also entered the 2012 season coming off a torn ACL and—if not for Peterson—would garner a lot more attention:
Congratulate @adrianpeterson for an outstanding season and getting 2K this year off an injury.. Big up too u..— Jamaal Charles (@jcharles25) December 31, 2012
The success that both Peterson and Charles have enjoyed just a year removed from their injuries has this fan wondering about his own torn ACL, though obviously a joke:
Watching Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles this year makes me wish I'd tear my ACL.— Jason Madson (@Jason_Madson) December 31, 2012
Though Peterson fell short of the record, knowing that his run cemented a playoff berth could help him look toward the postseason that much easier:
Sorry to see Adrian Peterson fall just 9 yds short of record, but he made the run that won the game. Making playoffs little more important— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) December 31, 2012
Lucky for A.D. and the Vikings, they draw the Packers in next week's opening round:
Adrian Peterson fell a yard shy of running for 200 yards twice against the Packers this year. Gets them again next week in wild card round.— Michael Smith (@michaelsmith) December 31, 2012
With the regular season now over, the big debate will be who takes home the individual hardware: MVP, Comeback Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. There are certainly many deserving candidates, but Peterson and Peyton Manning will garner the most chatter:
I CAN'T pick between Adrian Peterson & Peyton Manning for MVP. BOTH deserve it. BOTH superhuman comebacks. Why argue? Co-MVP's!— Stuart Scott (@StuartScott) December 31, 2012
Dickerson keeps his record for now, but had these kind words for Peterson after the game:
@adrianpeterson Just want to say that you are a Great player & if my record had to fall. I would like it to go to a player like you AP.ED— Eric Dickerson (@EricDickerson) December 31, 2012
They say it takes a full year to return to form after an ACL injury. If 2012 is just the re-beginning for Peterson, Dickerson's record is sure to fall next year.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.