MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Adrian Peterson picked up the Minnesota Vikings and gave them a ride to the playoffs, where the first stop on this improbable journey is, yes, Green Bay.
Peterson came up 9 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record, but he still powered the Vikings past the Packers 37-34 Sunday with 199 yards to set up a rematch next weekend in a first-round playoff game.
Peterson sliced through the line for a 27-yard gain in the closing seconds, his career-high 34th carry. That set up Blair Walsh's 29-yard field goal as time expired and put the Vikings (10-6) in the postseason after consecutive last-place finishes.
The division champion Packers (11-5) dropped to the NFC's No. 3 seed.
Aaron Rodgers completed 28 of 40 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns and no turnovers, connecting with Jordy Nelson from 2 yards to tie the game with 2:54 remaining. But Christian Ponder threw for three scores, including one to Peterson, providing the necessary balance.
Ponder didn't turn over the ball, either, and went 16 for 28 for 234 yards, including a 65-yard zinger in stride to Jarius Wright midway through the fourth quarter that set up Ponder's third touchdown toss.
Peterson finished with 2,097 yards, becoming the seventh player in NFL history to reach the 2,000 mark. He had to work for it, pulling out all the cutbacks, stutter-steps and spins he could find in his exceptional skill set. His longest run was only 28 yards against a defense geared to slow him down, and the first contact often came at, near or behind the line of scrimmage.
The Packers cut the lead to 27-24 late in the third quarter on a touchdown reception by James Jones. The on-field ruling was a fumble at the goal line, triggering an automatic review. Because the Packers threw the challenge flag after the replay process began, however, they were only penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, not prevented from benefiting from the overturned call.
That's what happened to Detroit infamously on Thanksgiving, when a disputed score by Houston was prevented from review.
Vikings executives hollered at the officials' supervisor in the press box, and mild-mannered coach Leslie Frazier was screaming at referee Mike Carey in search of an explanation.