He called Ravens fans the worst in the league, damaging his reputation in at least one city that's had two franchises win three more Super Bowls than the Vikings. He blasted referee Pete Morelli's officiating crew for blowing "a million" calls, setting himself up for a possible fine from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. And, he also suffered a mid-foot sprain when his right foot got trapped under linebacker Arthur Brown while being tackles early in the second quarter on Sunday's snowy 29-26 loss at M&T Stadium.
X-rays taken at the stadium were negative. On Monday, Peterson said a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam helped rule out any torn ligaments and the dreaded Lisfranc injury. Peterson also said he was scheduled for a CT scan with a foot specialist later in the day and would know more on Tuesday.
"They ruled (a Lisfranc injury) out and, of course, that was one thing that will pop up in your mind," Peterson said. "That's one thing I didn't want to hear so it feels good to have that cleared out."
After the game on Sunday, Peterson admitted to being concerned about a serious injury.
"I just felt it pop a couple of times and the pain was excruciating," Peterson said. "My initial thought was, `God, I hope I didn't break anything' because that's what it felt like. After it happened, I didn't know what happened to the football. I was worried about what was going on with my (foot)."
With the Vikings (3-9-1) officially eliminated from the playoffs, Peterson was asked if it would be best if just shut himself down for the rest of the season, regardless of Monday's MRI results.
"No, no, not at all," said Peterson, who had just seven carries for 13 yards, the second-lowest total of his career behind only the three yards gained as a rookie in San Francisco. "You should have seen me in (the locker room) trying to get back out there."
The frustration of being eliminated in a wild game that contained a record six fourth-quarter lead changes, including five in the final 2:05, was too much for Peterson to hold in. He used Twitter, his usual post-game press conference and his interview with the team's radio home to rip the snowball-throwing fans and the officials who clobbered the Vikings with two questionable pass interference penalties late in the game and one head-scratching decision not to overturn a fumble call when replay showed Toby Gerhart's knee touching the ground before the ball popped out.
"It's frustrating," Peterson said. "We come in and we fight so hard. To have to beat a team and the officials, it doesn't make any sense."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday that Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, made an unsolicited call to him on Monday morning to discuss some of the calls in the game. Frazier said it was the second time that's happened this year, but wouldn't reveal when the other time was. He stopped short of saying Blandino apologized on behalf of the league, but did indicate that the league acknowledged there were some blown calls in the game.
Meanwhile, a league spokesman said such conversations between Blandino and coaches are routine and confidential, adding that there was no apology given on behalf of the league.
The officials weren't the only people on Peterson's mind after Sunday's game.
"To top it off, they got the worst fans in the NFL throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter like kids," Peterson said. "It was a bad feeling, a bad experience."
--Adrian Peterson wasn't the only Vikings player or coach griping about the officials in the locker room after the game.
"There were four plays in there that were big calls that went against us that were very questionable," fullback Jerome Felton said. "Every single big call in the game went against us."
Pass interference penalties on nickel back Robert Blanton and linebacker Chad Greenway in the final minutes were hot complaints in the visitors' locker room. Both led to go-ahead touchdowns. Greenway's penalty, which came 20 seconds before Joe Flacco threw the game-winner with 4 seconds left, was particularly questionable.
"Man, there were a lot of things that I thought could be called pass interference more so than that throughout that ballgame," coach Leslie Frazier said. "For those two calls to happen, it bewildered me. Just very disappointing."
Greenway said he thought it was Pitta who tripped over his foot during what should have been considered incidental contact.
"I'm still wondering what happened," Greenway said.
At least one player chose not to vent out of fear of retribution.
"I'm not going to be (in) Roger Goodell's office," Robison said. "I'm not paying that fine."
--While the pass interference penalties were questionable, they still didn't compare to the Toby Gerhart fumble that wasn't overturned. During the review, even the Ravens assumed the call would be overturned so they kept their defense on the field until being shocked by the good news. They sprinted to the sideline in a rowdy celebration that saw one player hit the ground to slide through the snow.
"I didn't see enough to overturn the ruling on the field as a fumble," referee Pete Morelli told a pool reporter.
Gerhart, the rest of the Vikings and press box observers surely saw enough. Gerhart also said he's never seen a situation in which both teams were that surprised by the result of a replay review.
"I felt like I had both knees down," Gerhart said. "Obviously, our guys in the booth saw it that way and (Baltimore's) guys in the booth saw it that way. But the refs saw it differently."
--One of the few players in the Vikings locker room not complaining about the officials was backup right guard Joe Berger, who had a critical call go against him after replacing the injured Brandon Fusco midway through the first quarter. Berger was flagged 15 yards for a personal foul on a peel-back block that negated an 18-yard run by Cordarrelle Patterson to the Baltimore 2-yard line. The Vikings had to settle for a field goal on that drive.
"That's a rule the NFL put in that we know that if you're going back toward your end zone, if you block low, it's a penalty," Berger said. "Three years ago, it's a legal play. Now, it's not. I had no complaints. You used to be able to do it. As I was doing it, I knew it was the wrong thing. But it was too late."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--DE Jared Allen had his seventh sack of the season and needs three more to avoid his first single-digit sack season since 2006, his third year with the Chiefs. Allen also had two other hits on Joe Flacco on Sunday.
--DE Brian Robison also had his seventh sack of the season. A fourth-round pick in 2007, he's trying to lead the Vikings in sacks for the first time. Jared Allen has held the team lead every year since arriving in 2008. The last time Allen didn't lead his team in tackles was 2006, his third year with the Chiefs.
--LB Chad Greenway continues to play with fractures in his wrist. He also managed to come down with his third interception of the season. He leads the team and has matched a career high with three interceptions.
--WR Jerome Simpson finally reached the end zone as a member of the Vikings. His last touchdown came with the Bengals on Christmas Eve, 2011. That was the famous catch in which he somersaulted over a defender and stuck the landing in the end zone.
--DT Sharrif Floyd had one of the more active games of his rookie season. He had consistent pressure inside and came up with two hits on Flacco. Floyd, a first-round draft pick, has had a quiet rookie season in a backup role to veteran Kevin Williams. Williams, 33, isn't expected to return to Minnesota for what would be a 12th season.
--RB Adrian Peterson (foot) suffered a mid-foot sprain in his right foot when it was rolled up on a tackle in the second quarter on Sunday. He didn't return. X-rays were negative on Sunday and, according to Peterson, an MRI ruled out torn ligaments and the dreaded Lisfranc injury on Monday. Peterson was scheduled to see a foot specialist and get a CT scan later Monday and said he would know more on Tuesday.
--RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring), who replaced Peterson early in the second quarter on Sunday and gave the Vikings a brief lead in the closing minutes with a 41-yard touchdown burst up the middle, suffered a hamstring injury late in the game. He is day-to-day. With Peterson unlikely to play on Sunday and Gerhart fighting a hamstring injury, the running back duties against the Eagles could fall to No. 3 running back Matt Asiata. Asiata has three career carries for nine yards.
--TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), who fractured his left foot in the Dallas game on Nov. 3, was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season on Monday. The Vikings had hoped to get him back, but he hasn't progressed enough to take a risk on further injury now that the team has been eliminated from the playoff picture. The No. 1 tight end job has fallen to John Carlson, who has done well. But Carlson suffered a concussion at Baltimore on Sunday.
--TE John Carlson (concussion) will have to pass the league-mandated concussion protocol before returning. It's his second concussion in two years with the Vikings and at least the third of his NFL career. With Rudolph possibly unready to return this week, the pass-catching tight end role could fall to former practice squad player Chase Ford or blocking tight end Rhett Ellison.
--CB Josh Robinson, the second-year pro who had struggled in trying to replace the departed Antoine Winfield, missed his third straight game and could miss the rest of the season because of a fractured sternum. The Vikings are still holding out hope that he will return, but he won't practice this week. Robinson had gotten better of late, but still has a long way to go. Rookie first-round draft pick Xavier Rhodes replaced Rhodes and has improved dramatically late in the season. But he also suffered an ankle injury on Sunday in Baltimore.
--CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle) suffered his injury in the second half at Baltimore and is day-to-day. He has struggled against nagging injuries all season and was on crutches after the game. If Robinson is unable to return, the Vikings will have to start punt returner Marcus Sherels, who is a scrapper but often gets overmatched physically.
--S Harrison Smith (turf toe) hasn't played since the fifth game and is on injured reserve with designation to return. He's eligible to return this week and appears to be ahead of schedule. But whether the Viking risk playing their best defensive back in three meaningless games remains to be seen.
--RG Brandon Fusco (knee) left Sunday's game midway through the second quarter and did not return. He is day-to-day. Joe Berger, a quality veteran interior backup, stepped in and played well for the most part. But his 15-yard penalty for a peel-back block also negated Cordarrelle Patterson's 18-yard run down to the Ravens' 2-yard line.
--WR Greg Childs, who is attempting to come back from torn patellar tendons in both knees, will remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list for the rest of the season. He had returned to practice two weeks ago, but the Vikings had to make a decision on him on Monday. As expected, they chose not to activate him. He looks good in practice, but still needs more time to bounce back from blowing out both knees on one play during training camp as a rookie last season.
REPORT CARD VS. RAVENS
PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Matt Cassel did well, especially when you consider that the game began in heavy snowfall and ended in freezing rain. And if not for a record sixth fourth-quarter lead change, rookie Cordarrelle Patterson's electric 79-yard catch and run for a touchdown would have won the game with 45 seconds left. Patterson had five catches for 141 yards, including a 21-yarder that set up the Vikings' other touchdown that came in the final two minutes. Jerome Simpson had the first fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdown, his first score in his two seasons with the Vikings. The offensive line also held up in part because of the poor footing. Cassel wasn't sacked while posting an 86.0 passer rating.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Adrian Peterson left the game early in the second quarter with a mid-foot sprain in his right foot. In his first game ever in the snow, Peterson couldn't get his footing and finished with 13 yards on seven carries. The 13 yards were the second-fewest of his career behind the three yards on 14 carries that he posted his rookie year at San Francisco. Toby Gerhart had 89 yards on 15 carries, including a 41-yard touchdown blast that gave the Vikings their second of three fourth-quarter leads late in the game. Gerhart also fumbled a ball that should have been overturned by replay but wasn't. His knee clearly was down. The turnover allowed the Ravens to move just 25 yards for their first touchdown of the game.
PASS DEFENSE: C -- For the fifth time this season, the Vikings lost a lead in the final minute of regulation. But the defense also came up with three interceptions for the second time this season. Linebacker Chad Greenway's third interception of the season tied a career-high. Safety Andrew Sendejo's first career interception further helped his case to replace Jamarca Sanford as a permanent starter with Harrison Smith (turf toe) being able to come off injured reserve this week. Marcus Sherels also came up with his first interception of the season when a pass deflected off the shoulder of a receiver who was in position to catch a deep pass. Unfortunately for the Vikings, those three interceptions led to just one touchdown and two three-and-outs. Sendejo would have had a second interception in the final minute, but it was negated by Greenway's questionable pass interference penalty. In his final two cracks at the Vikings' defense, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed 7 of 10 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including a beautiful touch pass over the head of middle linebacker Audie Cole to Marlon Brown, who came down just in-bounds.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The Vikings wore down a little late in the fourth quarter, giving up consecutive runs of 12 and 11 yards to Ray Rice, a back who has struggled all season. But, overall, the Vikings held the Ravens to 97 yards on 27 carries (3.6). And 22 of those yards came when Flacco escaped the pocket under pressure and ran to the Vikings' 3-yard line.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Special teams coach Mike Priefer tried to kick the ball away from Jacoby Jones with 1:27 left and the Vikings up by four points. But Jones surprised the Vikings by moving up to field the pooch kick en route to a 77-yard touchdown. Kicker Blair Walsh also had a kickoff go out of bounds, but he did make field goals of 39 and 40 yards in terrible conditions. Patterson averaged 27.8 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 42-yarder. Punter Jeff Locke did well on a busy day for the punters. He had nine punts and averaged 44.1 yards with a net of 37. The long was 54 yards and there was one downed inside the 20.
COACHING: C -- The extreme highs and lows of the fourth quarter make it tough to be too critical or complimentary of the coaching staff. Once again, for the players to play as hard as they did for as long as they did on the road in horrendous weather shows an impressive commitment to coach Leslie Frazier. The Vikings had the lead three different times in the fourth quarter. But they also lost the lead three different times. Granted, the final time they lost it had a lot to do with a questionable pass interference call on Greenway. But losing a lead in the final minute of regulation for the fifth time this season suggests defensive coordinator Alan Williams is consistently pushing the wrong buttons. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave continues to expand Patterson's role in the offense. But at this point, with the team at 3-9-1 and officially eliminated from the playoffs, Patterson's emergence only further irritates those who think Musgrave was too conservative in bringing Patterson along this year. Special teams coach Mike Priefer had another inconsistent game. He's had some of the highest highs and lowest lows in the league this year. A squib kick rather than the pooch would have almost assured that the ball didn't end up in Jones' hands on the kick Jones took 77 yards for the score.
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