It might have been the excitement of making the playoffs but — after falling just nine yards shy of Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record of 2,105 yards — Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson seemed genuinely flabbergasted that he had come so close to breaking the 28-year-old record.
While being interviewed post-game by Fox's Pam Oliver — after the Vikings' 37-34 win over the Packers — she commented to Peterson, "You played you heart out. Nine yards ... nine yards. Boy, that's got to hurt."
The jubilant Peterson looked at the reporter. "Nine yards, what?" he said incredulously. "Nine yards what ... from breaking it?"
If A.P. was showing some false modesty, he was good. If he was resentful at not getting another shot at running for the extra nine yards — he was not as convincing.
The Vikings MVP candidate finished the game with 199 yards with a touchdown and racked up 2,097 yards for the season. He joined the exclusive club of 2,000 with a run of 20-yards that pushed his tally to 2,009 yards but it was his 26-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter that set up Blair Walsh's game-winning field goal and sent his team to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
More amazingly, Peterson joins O.J. Simpson, Dickerson, Terrell Davis, Barry Sanders, Jamal Lewis and Chris Johnson in the 2K club after having reconstructive knee surgery about a year ago.
Peterson has shown he has that rare combination of speed and power, but his reaction at coming so close to breaking a treasured Hall-of-Famer's NFL record shows he has humility and a team-first attitude to boot.