Despite a devastating injury suffered at the end of last season, Adrian Peterson already looks like he has returned to form.
Peterson already has 775 rushing yards this season (which, after Thursday Night's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leads the league) and four touchdowns on 151 attempts, for an average of 5.1 yards per carry. Along with those prolific rushing yards, Peterson has 23 catches for 139 yards as a receiver out of the backfield.
He's the motor that keeps the Minnesota Vikings offense humming and will have to be for the rest of the season.
The scary part for Peterson and those who have him on their fantasy team is that he's only getting warmed up. In the beginning of the season, there were times where you could tell that Peterson was still testing out his reconstructed knee and getting a feel for the field. He would hesitate at times to take hits and looked like he wasn't at 100 percent.
Despite all of that, he still put up the numbers he did in Minnesota's first eight games. Eight games are left, and Peterson is looking even better.
Against the Buccaneers, he ran for 123 yards. This isn't much of a surprise, but consider that he did this in only 15 attempts. Had the Vikings not fallen behind so early in the game, forcing them to abandon the run, Peterson likely would've had a few more attempts. Keep in mind his average for the game: 8.2 yards per carry.
Peterson isn't scoring very many touchdowns, but the good news is that he's also taking care of the ball, only fumbling twice in his first eight games.
Peterson and the Vikings do have a tough stretch coming up, with games against the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions before going into their bye week. Their bye is followed by a Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears sandwich that will test out how effective Peterson will be.
Based on how well the Seahawks and Bears defenses have played against the run this season, one might be tempted to bench him those weeks.
That would be a horrible idea.
Peterson is unlike any running back those teams have faced (and Seattle did struggle against Frank Gore, a good back himself who's nowhere near Peterson's level). He's the most important cog in a Minnesota offense that will have to be productive for the rest of the season in order to get to the playoffs.
Peterson will wind up swinging just about every fantasy league by the end of the season. Count on him to carry your team to the playoffs in the same way that the Vikings are counting on him to do the same.