MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Vikings have a once-in-a-generation running back in Adrian Peterson. It’s not his fault their playoff appearances have been almost as rare.

So as Minnesota prepares for its first postseason game since 2012 and only its second since 2009, Peterson’s perspective on the playoffs is an interesting one. Playoff appearances don’t exactly grow on trees around here, and Peterson knows how important that makes this one.

“Here we are now, in 2016,” Peterson said Thursday after practice. “And here I am, 30. I don’t know how much longer I will play, but you kind of look back and say, ‘Wow, we really haven’t had too many opportunities.’”

In the Vikings’ last two opportunities, 2009 and 2012, the team had decidedly different looks.

The ’09 team was led by Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, and was eighth in passing offense, 13th in rushing offense and fifth in total offense.

In 2012, Peterson basically put the team on his back – rushing for a near-record 2,097 yards and winning the MVP – for an offense that couldn’t have been much more unbalanced — second in rush offense, 31st in passing and 20th overall.

Eerily similar to this year: Fourth in rush offense, again 31st in passing and 29th overall.

When asked if this year’s team was more similar to the one in 2009 or 2012, Peterson paused for a moment to think before answering definitively.

“Oh-Nine,” Peterson said. “Of course, Teddy is not a Hall of Fame quarterback, but he’s definitely getting the job done. And each week, he continues to get better. And I’d say as far as the receivers and stuff that we have, we have a lot of athletes offensively, and they’re able to make plays. And our defense is as good as has been here in Minnesota.”

That’s got to be music to Viking fans’ ears, because the results in ’09 and ’12 sure looked different too – a play shy of the Super Bowl versus, well, whatever it was that happened at Lambeau.

“We have a great opportunity ahead of us,” Peterson said.

But as Peterson gets ever older, time is running out to make one of those opportunities really count.

“So,” he said, “the sense of urgency is definitely there.”

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