Viking coach Mike Zimmer told his team that they outplayed the Seahawks in last Sunday’s Wild Card game, but the final score still said the Seahawks won the game 10-9.
Blair Walsh’s missed 27-yard field goal with under 30 seconds left to play in the game was certainly a big reason for that, but running back Adrian Peterson’s fumble earlier in the fourth quarter was a big turn of events as well. Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor ripped the ball from Peterson’s grasp, the Seahawks recovered and kicked a go-ahead field goal a short time later.
Peterson, who struggled to gain yards when he wasn’t fumbling, said after the game that he takes the blame for the loss. It’s not the first time Peterson has had issues with fumbles in a playoff game and he had seven fumbles during the 2015 regular season, which leaves him with a clear focus for the offseason.
“The first thing that comes to mind is making sure that I put emphasis on protecting the ball,” Peterson said, via the Pioneer Press. “That’s going to be my No. 1 objective going into this offseason. I’ve joked around and said, ‘Yeah, I done put the ball on the turf, but how many have I lost? There’s guys that have lost more fumbles than me this year.’ But when it comes back and it bites you in this type of way, it’s something I want to put an emphasis on.”
Peterson’s fumbles are problematic, but they aren’t likely to lessen his role in the Vikings offense after a year that saw him lead the league in rushing for a team that’s unlikely to shift their offensive approach too dramatically this offseason.