Adrian Peterson Fumbles Away First-Round Bye as Minnesota Vikings Lose in OT

Zeke FuhrmanAnalyst IIIDecember 29, 2009

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 28:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears in the first half at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Although it won't be official until next week, the Vikings have all but surrendered their first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

Playing catch-up the entire game, the Minnesota Vikings tied the Chicago Bears at 30-30 with a six-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Sidney Rice with 16 seconds left in the game on Monday Night Football.

Momentum was on the Vikings' side after a missed field goal by Bears K Robbie Gould in overtime. After failed drives by both teams, the Vikes got the ball back a second time.

Favre threw a screen to Peterson, who easily ran for the first down, but was stripped by MLB Hunter Hillenmyer at the Bears 30 yard line.

The next play from scrimmage, Bears QB Jay Cutler connected with Devin Aromashadou, who finished with 150 yards and a touchdown.

Aromashadou nearly gained more yardage than the top three Vikings receivers (Berrian, Rice, and Harvin) by himself.

Adrian Peterson, who leads the league in fumbles (20) since entering the league in 2007, fumbled for the seventh time this season.

This loss is more devastating than last week's disaster in Carolina (26-7 loss). The Bears were missing starters WR Devin Hester and FS Al Afalava, and also lost KR/ WR Johnny Knox, WR Earl Bennett, and CB Charles Tillman during the game. Hillenmeyer has played for the injured Brian Urlacher, who dislocated his wrist during Week One. 

A lot needs to happen for the Vikings to wrap up a bye-clinching seed.

With the Vikings loss, New Orleans (13-2) clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Vikings (11-4) need the Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) to lose to the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys (10-6) next week. The Eagles hold the tie-breaker over the Vikings.

Dallas will likely rest their starters, and Philadelphia will play a competitive game.

The same goes for the Vikings. The Vikings will face the New York Giants (8-7) next week. The Giants, who are eliminated from the playoffs, could potentially play their younger players to get them in-game experience. The Vikings should beat the Giants (they should have beaten the Steelers, Cardinals, Panthers, and Bears too).

With Philly playing a competitive game against the Cowboys practice squad, the Vikes have almost no chance of getting a week off.