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Phil Loadholt, Charlie Johnson a big part of Adrian Peterson's extraordinary season

The Minnesota Vikings' offensive linemen only needed to give Peterson a small hole. Both say Peterson's season has been fun to watch.
By Mike Baldwin Published: January 4, 2013

“We all thought he would come back, but who could have thought he would come back this good, that quick?” Loadholt said. “It's something special to be a part of. It's been a lot of fun.”

In six seasons, Peterson has rushed for 8,849 yards. But this season, he established himself as one of the top backs in league history, becoming only the seventh back to reach 2,000 yards in a season.

“You think about all the great backs that have come through the league and the offensive lines that blocked for them,” Loadholt said. “He really wanted the record. He came up a little short. But like he said, it's something to work towards in the years to come.”

It's uncertain whether Loadholt, a 6-foot-8, 330-pound left tackle, will be blocking for Peterson next season. An instant starter as a rookie, Loadholt has started 63 games but will be a free agent. Some NFL analysts said this was his best season.

“It's nice when people say those type of things,” Loadholt said. “I feel I had a good season. But I'm not really into ranking my years. There are a lot of different factors every year. I'm just trying to do my part here and help this team win. All that other stuff will take care of itself.”

A seven-year veteran, Johnson switched from tight end to guard at OSU. He's played in 105 NFL games, including 86 starts. The Vikings left guard, Johnson played in two Super Bowls during his five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

“I've been very blessed,” Johnson said. “I wasn't even sure if I was going to be drafted. Back in 2006, I would have never dreamt of this. I've been fortunate to be on good teams. A lot of guys don't get to play in one Super Bowl. I've played in two and won one. I'd love for this year to be number three.”

Johnson has played with both Peyton Manning and Peterson. If he had a vote who would he choose for MVP?

“I'm definitely biased,” Johnson said. “I really respect Peyton, but what Adrian has done has been unbelievable. For him to put up those type of numbers and put the team on his back at times, it was a special, special season. I feel blessed just to be part of it.”