Will Adrian Peterson's Historic Chase for Record Have Future Consequences?

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2012

Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball during the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson is on the verge of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record (2,105 yards), but will his quest for glory hurt him in the long run?

Running backs in the NFL have a limited shelf life, and as a result, we've seen teams like the San Francisco 49ers bring in younger backs to complement their veteran and spare his body.

Through 14 games, Peterson has toted the rock 289 times, which averaged out to almost 21 carries per game. 

Over the course of the past five games, his workload has increased to just over 24 carries per game, and as he works to break Dickerson's record in the next two games, you can be sure he'll get plenty of touches.

Peterson is on pace for 330 total carries this season, and, combined with his receptions, he's on pace for 373 touches—right above the dreaded 370-mark that has hurt so many runners before him. While the "Curse of 370" refers specifically to carries, there's no doubt that running backs who carry the ball as often as he does don't usually last into their 30s.

If any running back should be concerned about a drop off in production in 2013, it's Arian Foster, who has already carried the ball 325 times this season. Peterson's right behind him, though, and at the age of 27, he's already nearing the age when many elite running backs begin to fade.

The thing is, Peterson's running like he's been fitted with hinds' feet right now. The way he cuts without losing speed and power and the way he breaks away from defenders in the open field makes me believe that he's not like other running backs that have begun to fade toward their late-20s.

Peterson looks like he could keep going at his current pace for years to come, and as the long, grinding NFL season has wore on, he seems to have unbelievably gotten stronger. 

Peterson seems to be made of different stuff than the average NFL running back, but then again, I thought the same thing before his knee was destroyed last Christmas eve. 

He's only human, though it certainly doesn't seem so on Sundays, and like all the others before him, Peterson has a finite amount of carries in his bones. We'll have to keep watching to find out what that limit really is. 


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