JAY DAVIS: Adrian Peterson show becoming must watch TV
Sunday at noon is becoming a time for some must-watch TV. Because that is when the Adrian Peterson show comes on.
By now even you most casual of NFL football fans know what “All Day” has been doing this season. Quite simply, he is tearing up the year in the season after tearing up his knee. Peterson has racked up an already career-high 1,812 yards this season. With two games to go he is on track to gain 2,080 yards this season.
But simply cracking the 2,000-yard plateau is not his goal. AD has his sights set on besting the 2,105 yards Eric Dickerson of the Rams gained back in 1984. Even more important, Peterson has been leading the Vikings to an improbable run at the postseason.
I’ve talked to more than just a couple football fans the last couple of weeks who are not Vikings fans, but they sure have been watching a lot of Minnesota football. Even Packers fans have been tuned in to see what Peterson will do next.
This Sunday may just be the game that decides if Peterson can make a serious run at the record. The Vikings play at the 12-2 Houston Texans in a game that is almost do-or-die for the Vikings and their playoff chances. The game has another sidebar to go along with Peterson and his quest to run where no running back has ever run before. The Texans have a running back named Arian Foster, who is maybe the best mortal running back in the league. It is a good bet that the Texans will try to get ahead quickly so they can give the ball repeatedly to Foster and keep the ball out of Peterson’s hands.
Peterson needs 293 yards in his next two games to eclipse the record. That means he need to average 146.5 yards per game. He is averaging an almost unthinkable 6.3 yards per carry so far this season. If he can keep running at that clip he’ll need to get the ball 23 to 25 times each game.
Since the man is doing things on the field that no running back has ever done before, there is no reason to think he can’t finish this quest.
If Peterson has a big enough game on Sunday, let’s say he gains somewhere from 120 yards up, a monumental Vikings vs. Packers game will be set up for the final weekend of the season. A couple of weeks ago, Peterson busted out a 210-yard game against the Packers at Lambeau Field. It’s a good guess that every Packer defender is already sleeping with one eye open.
Remember back at the beginning of the season? The Vikings did not let Peterson have a single carry in the preseason. When the real games started, they eased him back into the swing of things. After six games, Peterson had just 413 yards with 102 yards being his best game. Since week seven, he has gained 1,313 yards with a low game of 108 yards. That’s an eight-week run. The season is 16 games long, so multiply that number by two; and since the Vikings have let their horse run loose, Peterson has been gaining yards at a rate that adds up to a 2,626-yard season!
That. folks, is simply incredible. Before the season started, most football prognosticators had the Vikings as one of the dregs of the NFL, predicting just three or four wins. Second-year quarterback Christian Ponder has struggled and the Vikings have an extremely bottom-tier receiving corps (even when all-star Percy Harvin was healthy). Every team has been stacking eight and nine men in the box to stop Peterson, but he has still been running like a house on fire.
Fate is going to smile on AD. Do not be surprised if the record goes down. At this point, nothing Peterson does should surprise anyone.