Adrian Peterson: 3 Reasons Why Vikings RB Won't Break the NFL's Rushing Record
Peterson needs 294 yards—or 147 in each game—to eclipse the 2,105 yards Dickerson amassed during the 1984 season, which seems feasible given that Peterson has rushed for 576 yards in three December games.
However, despite a lofty task still ahead of Peterson, few have played devil's advocate on the topic.
We'll play that role in the following slides, which present three main reasons why Peterson might not break Dickerson's record.
Peterson has run through, around and over any defense put in his path over the two-and-a-half months, so maybe his final two opponents won't have much to say about him getting to 294 yards.
However, Houston and Green Bay likely represent one of the more difficult two-game stretches for Peterson in 2012.
The Texans, allowing just 93.1 rushing yards a game this season, are the fifth-best run defense in football. They haven't allowed a run over 28 yards this season, and only seven times has a running back had a carry that went for over 20 yards.
Houston also has one of the game's best run-stoppers in J.J. Watt.
The Packers, Minnesota's opponent in the season finale, are 14th in the NFL at 114.2 rushing yards a game. Obviously, Peterson already ran for 210 yards and an 82-yard touchdown against this defense. But Green Bay has allowed just eight runs of 20 or more yards (two to Peterson) this season, and only two teams have rushed for over 150 yards in 14 tries.
Peterson can certainly go for 294 yards against these two combined, especially with Green Bay at the back end. But the Texans could put a lot of pressure on Peterson in Week 17 with a strong effort Sunday in Houston.
Playing Catch Up?
Maybe the biggest challenge to Peterson's catching Dickerson? The Vikings' ability to keep up on the scoreboard. Both Houston and Green Bay could test Minnesota's commitment on the ground.
The Texans are currently the AFC's No. 1 seed, and only the Packers have beat Houston in its backyard. Discounting the Green Bay game, Houston is winning its home games by an average of 20 points this season.
The Packers haven't lost to Minnesota in five games. Over that stretch, Green Bay is winning by an average of 17 points.
If both the Texans and Packers get up big on Minnesota, the Vikings might be forced to abandon some of Peterson's carries. Remember, after Green Bay went up two scores in the first meeting, Peterson didn't receive a fourth-quarter carry.
294 Yards Isn't a Cakewalk
Peterson's greatness over the last eight games has clouded the simple reality here: 294 rushing yards over two games is certainly not an easy task in the NFL.
While Peterson has averaged 164.1 yards a game over this historic eight-game stretch, it really doesn't take much to fall short of 294 yards.
Consider that two-game stretches such as Peterson's 153 yards against the Cardinals and 123 against the Buccaneers wouldn't break the record. Neither would his 171 yards against the Lions and 108 against the Bears.
Nothing against Peterson, but he can still be great over the final two games and not break Dickerson's record.