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Adrian Peterson's stellar season ends in playoff loss

Adrian Peterson overcame so much to pull off one of the most indelible individual seasons in NFL history. But he couldn't overcome playing with backup quarterback Joe Webb during a playoff game at Lambeau Field.

The Minnesota Vikings lost 24-10 on Saturday night, and it wasn't exactly a surprising result. Peterson was held to 99 yards on 22 carries as the Green Bay Packers did a terrific job not letting him get to the outside. His longest run went for 18 yards.

It's not about the Packers keying on Peterson more than usual. Teams like the Packers key on Peterson every week; Green Bay was just more effective than most. Webb's presence in the Vikings' starting lineup didn't help. He completed just 11 of 30 passes, with a meaningless touchdown pass in garbage time.

It's a shame Minnesota's incredible run to end the season ended this way. Christian Ponder played terrific in a Week 17 win over the Packers; it would have been nice to see him out there again. But this would have been an uphill battle regardless.

Peterson carried a mediocre team as far as it could possibly go. But this is a quarterbacks' league, and the reality is that running backs only can do so much. Of the seven running backs to reach 2,000 yards in a season, only one of them (Terrell Davis) has won a playoff game in that season.

The loss won't erase our memories from Peterson's campaign. And it shouldn't diminish an encouraging year for young players in Minnesota. Rookie left tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Josh Robinson, wide receiver Jairus Wright and kicker Blair Walsh all look like great core players. String a couple of drafts like that together and improve the quarterback play, and this team might have something.

Oh, and Adrian Peterson will be going after 2,500 rushing yards next season. At this point, we don't doubt he can pull it off.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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