Adrian Peterson missed out on a milestone on Sunday, but Minnesota's superstar running back helped the Vikings to a dramatic 37-34 victory over Green Bay and into an NFL playoff berth.
Peterson went into the contest on the last day of the regular season needing 208 yards to break Eric Dickerson's NFL record for most rushing yards in a season.
Playing precisely one year after surgery to repair a torn knee ligament, Peterson carried the ball 34 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
Peterson finished his 2012 campaign with 2,097 rushing yards. While he couldn't quite reach the record of 2,105 yards established by Dickerson in 1984, he became the seventh player in league history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in a season.
Peterson's final contribution on Sunday was a 26-yard burst to the Green Bay 11 yard line with three seconds remaining.
From there, Blair Walsh booted a 29-yard field goal to break a 34-34 tie and seal the victory.
The Vikings claimed the sixth playoff seed in the National Football Conference (NFC).
They will meet the Packers again next week in Green Bay in the first round.
Minnesota's victory spelled the end of Chicago's playoff hopes, just as the Bears' victory had extinguished the slim chances of reigning Super Bowl champions the New York Giants.
The Giants did what they could, routing Philadelphia 42-7, but shortly after they walked off the field, Chicago knocked them out of playoff contention with a 26-24 victory over Detroit.
"It hurts," Giants quarterback Eli Manning admitted.
Bears coach Lovie Smith was philosophical, knowing that, even with a win, his players didn't control their own post-season destiny.
"We realized going into the game that it was out of our hands after the game," Smith said.