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Vikings Top Packers, Clinch NFC Sixth Seed

Along with the Redskins and Cowboys, the playoff math was extremely simple for the Vikings this past Sunday; a win and they would be in. Fortunately for Minnesota fans, the Vikings did just that, pulling of an impressive upset of the NFC North champion Green Bay Packers 37-34 on a 29-yard Blair Walsh field goal as time expired. The win capped off a 10-6 playoff-bound campaign that no one saw coming and set up a rematch with the Packers in the wild card round next week.

Peterson is now officially the 2012 rushing king

As with virtually every game this season, Adrian Peterson had a big one, rushing for 199 yards and eclipsing 2,000 for the season in the process. He became just the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 in a single-season and although he fell just nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s NFL record, he said making the playoffs was always on the forefront of his mind, rather than personal achievements.

“I told myself to come into this game focused on one thing, and that’s winning,” Peterson said via ESPN.com.

Peterson being a team player is just one of the reasons he is in strong consideration for the 2012 MVP award, along with the incredible numbers. However, what’s probably more impressive to most fans and voters is the fact that he’s done all of this just one year after reconstructive surgery on his left knee, a procedure that, although often allows athletes to return to the field or court, usually limits them for the remainder of their careers. This has obviously not been the case with Peterson, who carried the ball a career-high 34 times in the Vikings win this week.

“For our guys to be as resilient as they were, it has you swelling with pride,” Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said.

On the other sideline, the Packers did what they wanted to offensively, but couldn’t find an answer for Peterson. Aaron Rodgers was most likely happy with his own play, as he completed 28 of 40 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns, but he was obviously not pleased with the result, as his squad missed an opportunity at a first round bye in the playoffs.

“It’s disappointing. A lot of us wanted that extra week,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers will look for his revenge next week

The result of this past weekend’s clash now interestingly sets up a rematch between the two teams, this time at Lambeau Field, where the Packers claimed a victory over the Vikings 23-14 in week 13. The Packers will certainly be the favorites once again, but after this week, the Vikings have proven that they are capable of hanging with anyone.

With the NFC stacked with tough playoff teams, the road to the Super Bowl will be treacherous no matter which path you take. The Vikings likely improved their odds with this week’s win, but they are still a longshot to win the NFC and the Super Bowl at 18/1 and 40/1 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Packers maintained decent odds at 15/2 to win the whole thing and 10/3 to win the NFC title. Considering they’ve done both before with pretty much the same team, taking Green Bay to go all the way wouldn’t be a bad bet and it could very well prove to be a profitable one.

Despite a good showing from Christian Ponder this week, the Vikings are still very much a one-dimensional team and those types of teams rarely go far in the postseason. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they won a game or two, but don’t count on them to win the NFC or the Super Bowl. It’s been a great season for the Vikings and I’m sure they will be able to build on it for the future, but they don’t have the complete team to get it done in 2012.


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