But the Vikings' first-round loss shouldn't diminish Peterson's MVP candidacy. It was still one of the greatest single-season performances in NFL history.
Peterson rushed for over 2,000 yards and single-handedly dragged the Vikings to the playoffs less than nine months removed from ACL surgery.
Most people take a year to return from that injury. Peterson was back on the field only months after the operation.
His return is an accomplishment within itself. However, when you add that to his unbelievable numbers on the field, and his 2012 season is nothing short of legendary.
Despite the incredible year, Peterson isn't satisfied. He almost considers the season a loss after a first-round playoff exit.
Adrian Peterson: "Records are nice but if you’re going home it’s all for nothing. Yeah, the year was good but we’re out of it now."
— Pioneer Press (@VikingsNow) January 6, 2013
Still, the millions of fans who had the pleasure of observing Peterson's run towards immortality—Peterson came only nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record—will remember it fondly.
Actually, it's hard to see anyone but Peterson as the MVP. Even with the first-round loss to the Packers.
Peterson did things this season that mere mortals dream about. Most people would just be back to walking nine months removed from ACL surgery. Not Peterson. Instead, he was rushing for 100 yards against NFL defenses.
He ran with the speed and grace few backs in NFL history have ever displayed, and the greats took notice. (h/t Pioneer Press)
"I think he's a great back -- and I don't use that word loosely. I think the media throws that word around. I don't," Dickerson said. "I think you can count the number of great players in the league on one hand, and he's one of them. ... Coming back from what should have been a career ender (tearing knee ligaments Dec. 24, 2011), he should definitely be the MVP of the league."
That's a strong endorsement from one of the NFL's all-time best. And even though Peterson fell short of Dickerson's record, the season was still MVP-worthy.
Peterson will only get better next year. A full offseason of workouts and lifting will help round him into the best shape of his career. That is a scary thought for the defenses forced to oppose him, and an incredible one for football fans.
But for now, just sit back and enjoy the season the AD had.
He may think he came up short, but for everyone else, it was one of the most incredible sporting runs we’ve ever seen.
Without a doubt, Peterson is the NFL's MVP.