The NFL’s rushing champion Adrian Peterson will spend the offseason haunted by his disappointing fourth quarter during the Vikings’ 10-9 wild-card playoff loss to Seattle Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.
Peterson fumbled on the Vikings’ 40-yard line with under 11 minutes to play and seven plays later Seattle had its first lead of the game after a 46-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka.
Peterson, though, seemed most disappointed with his inability to secure a first down inside the 10-yard line with 26 seconds left in the game.
He was given the ball three consecutive plays and left the Vikings with Fourth-and-1. Moments later, kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal wide left to secure Seattle’s comeback victory.
“I felt a lot of responsibility [coming into the game]. A lot,” Peterson said. “We knew we were facing a tough defense; a fast, physical defense. Going back to the last play before the field goal, being an inch away from the first down, that haunts me.”
“I’m sick about that,” he added before releasing a big sigh. “I hold myself responsible for this loss, as well.”
Peterson finished with 23 carries for 45 yards. He also had two catches for 13 yards, one of which he fumbled.
Seattle’s Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor stripped Peterson while linebacker K.J. Wright pinned back Peterson’s non-ball-carrying arm.
“It was tough. I had the first down and my mentality is to try and scratch for extra yards and that was one of those times I should have put the double [arms] on [the football] and and wrap it,” Peterson said. “After that, I was just praying ‘Defense give us another opportunity, defense give us another opportunity.
“I look back on that and say hey, if I don’t put that ball on the ground they’re not able to get that field goal and take the lead. So that’s going to be something that haunts me throughout this offseason.”
Peterson said he talked to Walsh after the game and told him the team loves him.
“I know Blair really put the blame on himself, but throughout the season, without him, there are a lot of games we would have lost,” Peterson said. “I just told him ‘We love you. Those nine points we have on the board, you accounted for those. Keep your head up.’ “