Published January 05 2009
Peterson's 2 TDs not enough for Vikings
Yet nearly 30 minutes after the 26-14 defeat ended Minnesota's up-and-down season, Peterson still sat in front of his locker in full uniform, staring blankly at his hands.
He carried the Vikings offense to an NFC North title and playoff berth on those big shoulder pads. But in the first postseason game of his sterling young career, Peterson found out that not even his near limitless talents are enough without a quarterback to help him.
Peterson rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries against the Eagles, but was completely shut down by Philly's swarming defense in the second half as the Vikings wilted in the postseason heat.
The league's leading rusher managed just 17 yards on eight carries in the second half.
``There were opportunities out there that I felt I left on the field and I'm sick about it,' Peterson said. ``In a game like this, you can't leave anything on the field. I know, personally, I'm going to learn a lot from this and try to omit those plays and move forward.'
The Vikings were so desperate to put their primary offensive weapon in a position to succeed in the second half that he lined up in the end zone on David Akers' final field-goal attempt, hoping a block or a short kick would somehow wind up in the Pro Bowler's hands with green pasture in front of him.
The kick, of course, sailed through the uprights. Peterson chased down the ensuing kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone, hesitated before bringing it out and was swarmed at the 13-yard line.
It was that kind of day for the most dynamic running back in the league.
With Tarvaris Jackson reverting to the form that got him benched three games into the season, the Eagles were able to devote most of their attention to stymieing Peterson.
During a 25-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters, Jackson was 2-for-11 for 17 yards. He finished 15-of-35 for 164 yards for an abysmal 45.4 rating and also had an interception returned for a touchdown.
Minnesota coach Brad Childress said the team has to get better in ``must-pass situations.'
``We're not Oklahoma here where we're in the wishbone and then come back out and we're in the wishbone again,' he said. ``We have to get better there.'
Peterson, the former Sooner, probably wished he was back in Norman, Okla., on Sunday. He scored on a 40-yard run early in the second quarter and added a 3-yard TD late in the half to cut Philly's lead to 16-14.
From there on out, there was nowhere to run. The Eagles threw everything they had at Peterson and blitzed Jackson relentlessly, forcing the Vikings to punt on their first five possessions of the second half.
``I was proud, obviously, of the way our defense played in the second half,' Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said.
After the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Peterson will have plenty of resting up to do after a marathon season in which he gained 1,760 yards.
But he wasn't ready to think about what he was going to do with all his newfound free time.
``What do I do now? I don't know,' Peterson said. ``Right now, it's hard for me to even think about what I'm going to do now. This (loss) wasn't in my plans.'