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CINCINNATI, OH (January 3, 2013) – Running back ADRIAN PETERSON (Oklahoma) came within 9 yards of tying the single season rushing record as he powered the Vikings into the playoffs with a 37-34 win over division rival GREEN BAY PACKERS. The Vikings offensive line has been brilliant throughout the season providing key-running lanes for Peterson and Sunday’s performance was no different. The threat of Peterson allowed for rookie quarterback CHRISTIAN PONDER (Florida State) to throw for 234 yards and three touchdowns. The line also provided great protection as Ponder was only sacked once and hit just twice. Sunday’s victory capped a 7-1 record at home for the season. Week 17 marks the third time the Vikings offensive line has received Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award honors this season, maintaining their position as a strong contender for the fourth annual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.
The Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award recognizes the backbone of every NFL team…the offensive line. John Madden, for whom the Award is named, has been praising these unsung heroes for decades and serves as the ambassador for this unique Award, honoring the best Offensive Line in the National Football League. The Award serves to celebrate the loyal teammates in the trenches that most consistently provide the time and protection that is critical to their teammates’ and overall team’s success.
“The Vikings offensive line has been a key ingredient to Adrian Peterson’s success and they deserve a great amount of credit,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach JOHN MADDEN.
The 2012 Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award winner will be announced during the week of Super Bowl XLVII, which will be played on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans. Past Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award recipients include the New Orleans Saints (2009, 2011) and the New England Patriots (2010).
Starting in the trenches on Sunday for the Vikings were tackles MATT KALIL (USC) and PHIL LOADHOLT (Oklahoma); guards CHARLIE JOHNSON (Oklahoma State) and BRANDON FUSCO (Slippery Rock); and center JOHN SULLIVAN (Notre Dame). Veteran center JOE BERGER (Michigan Tech) and third year guard GEOFF SCHWARTZ (Oregon) also made appearances in the game. JEFF DAVIDSON serves as the Offensive Line coach for the Vikings and is in his first season with the team. Adrian Peterson rushed for 199 yards on the day including 36 yards on the last drive to set up a winning field goal for rookie kicker BLAIR WALSH (Georgia). The win clinches a playoff spot for the Vikings and a rematch with the Green Bay Packers.
Other offensive lines from around the league delivering powerful protection during Week 17 were the WASHINGTON REDSKINS (361 total yards, 87 passing yards, 274 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the NEW YORK GIANTS (397 total yards, 212 passing yards, 185 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (366 total yards, 222 passing yards, 144 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the DENVER BRONCOS (488 total yards, 316 passing yards, 172 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed, 0 QB hits allowed), NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (443 total yards, 276 passing yards, 167 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed) and the CAROLINA PANTHERS (530 total yards, 257 passing yards, 273 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 6 QB hits allowed).
Previous Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award winners throughout the 2012 season are: Week 1- Washington Redskins, Week 2- Carolina Panthers, Week 3- New York Giants, Week 4- Houston Texans, Week 5- San Francisco 49ers, Week 6- New York Giants, Week 7- San Francisco 49ers, Week 8- Denver Broncos, Week 9- Indianapolis Colts, Week 10- Minnesota Vikings, Week 11- New England Patriots, Week 12- San Francisco 49ers, Week 13- Houston Texans, Week 14- Minnesota Vikings, Week 15- Seattle Seahawks and Week 16- Seattle Seahawks.