Adrian put Packers defenders, and his team, on his back again on Sunday. All for nothing. - Wesley Hitt
An open apology to Adrian Peterson for his team wasting another great effort from the best running back in football.
Dear Adrian Peterson,
Yet again, you did everything humanly possible to lead the Vikings to a victory. You had 22 touches today and you averaged exactly 10 yards every time you got the ball. That's 210 yards on 21 carries and 10 yards on one catch. Averaging a first down every time you had the ball in your hands is no small feat.
You had the longest run of your career, an 82-yard romp through the Green Bay defense that wouldn't even be possible to pull off on the easiest level of Madden 13. We have seen you play for nearly six NFL seasons but we still can't believe what you're able to accomplish on a week to week basis.
And yet, even with everything you brought to the table on Sunday against the Packers, your team scored a paltry 14 points and lost a very winnable game.
If you're like us you're asking yourself how the hell that's even possible. At first. Because deep down you know just as well as we do how that's possible: it's your supporting cast.
Well, "supporting" is a bad choice of wording. It implies that your offensive teammates and coaching staff supplement your super-human efforts instead of sabotaging them. We already talked about your touchdown run, but do you remember those other amazing 48- and 23-yard runs you had later in the game? Do you remember what happened within two plays of each of those runs? I'm sure you do. Your quarterback threw two of the worst interceptions we have seen this year.
But it wasn't just the interceptions. How about that wheel route you ran where you had two steps on the linebacker that was covering you? Instead of hitting you in stride for an easy touchdown, Christian Ponder put the ball at least five yards behind you for a harmless incompletion.
I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for you. You worked so hard to come back after tearing two knee ligaments to be ready for day 1 of the 2012 season. Think about all the time you spent rehabbing and tirelessly working with trainer Eric Sugarman. All the sacrifice. All the sweat. You came back earlier than anyone expected and outperformed everyone's expectations. You have 1,446 rushing yards. One thousand four hundred forty-six. Over 300 yards more than anyone else in the league through 12 games. And you're doing it with eight to ten people in the box against you! (Yes, ten. If you look at the third and 1 today where you got stuffed, count how many people were within two yards of the ball when it was snapped.)
And yet your Herculean efforts have only been good enough for a .500 record and only a very remote chance at making the playoffs. Your defense looked good for the most part today, but we understand that it's tough for them to hold a potent team like the Packers at bay when they're on the field for over 38 minutes. So...maybe you shouldn't score so fast next time?
Of course we're kidding. It's not your fault. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Even when you say that you deserve some of the blame for the loss, we know that's just you being a great teammate. We know as well as you do that most of the blame rests on your quarterback and coordinator.
Do you ever wonder why Bill Musgrave seems to ignore you at times? Last week against the Bears, you had third and short deep in Chicago territory. You were on an absolute roll, which is how the Vikings were at that point on the field in the first place. But Musgrave called two passes instead of giving it to you. Today, you didn't get a single carry in the 4th quarter. And it's not like you guys were down by three touchdowns.
We had pretty high hopes for Ponder this year, but after today we just aren't sure anymore. I know you were busy, but did you see the comebacks that Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson pulled off today? They were pretty amazing. I'm sure you remember those two--along with Robert Griffin III, they're the rookie quarterbacks that beat the Vikings earlier this year. Could you imagine what your team would be like with one of those guys at the helm? It would certainly be better than getting handoffs and watching bad passes from Ponder and Joe Webb. (Yeah, we figured that if Webb didn't see the field today, you guys must already know that he isn't going to help either.)
Then again, it's not like Ponder is throwing to the 1998 Vikings receiving corps. The two yards of separation you got on that underthrown ball might have been the most separation a Viking not named Percy Harvin has had all year. We apologize that Harvin's injury means that only you and Kyle Rudolph are the only two people on the field capable of making a big play.
While we're very sorry that you have to deal with the quarterbacks and wide receivers that currently don the purple and gold, we regret what this means in the big picture the most. We realize that running backs don't have a very long shelf life in the NFL--even bionic running backs like you. It's hard to see you waste the prime of your career surrounded by such mediocrity.
We know that it's tough for a team to go from 3-13 to contender. We want to be patient. But we really, really, really want to get you the shot at a championship you deserve before it's too late. It just looks like we'll need a new quarterback and a few new receivers before that happens.
So keep doing what you're doing, Adrian. Just know that we feel your pain.
Minnesota Vikings fans