In many ways, Christmas 2011 for the Vikings should have been defined by an inspiring slogan, an 11-word adage delivered by Joe Webb from the postgame podium at FedEx Field.
"Stay prepared," Webb said. "And when your opportunity comes, take advantage of it."
In a perfect world, Webb's words would have been the neat way for the Vikings to package their 33-26 victory over the Washington Redskins, as the backup quarterback sparked a second-half eruption with three touchdowns.
Yet Webb was only a small part of the story. The far more significant scene from an otherwise pleasant Christmas Eve came on the first play after halftime. That's when Adrian Peterson took a handoff from Christian Ponder and was drilled in the left knee by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes.
Peterson's left leg was planted at the time and had little give. Instead, it bent sideways and left the Vikings superstar face down on the grass writhing in agony.
A magnetic resonance imaging exam Saturday night confirmed Peterson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. That injury could keep Peterson from being available to the Vikings at the start of the 2012 season.