While the Purple and Gold defeated the Houston Texans by the score of 23-6 and inched closer to clinching the playoffs, Peterson dug himself a hole. Aiming to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, AP rushed for just 86 yards—the first time he hadn’t eclipsed the century mark since Week 6.
He’ll enter the season finale with 1,898 yards on the ground, 208 behind Dickerson.
Peterson just rushed for 212 against the St. Louis Rams last Sunday and 210 two weeks earlier vs. the Green Bay Packers, the team he’ll face in Week 17. But it’s highly unlikely that the Pack, which just held Chris Johnson to 28 yards, will surrender over 200 yards to Peterson again.
It allows 114.3 per game. 209 is wishful thinking. In fact, 114 may be wishful thinking.
Don’t put Green Bay’s front seven in a box based on its No. 14 ranking in run defense. Peterson’s 210-yard outing against the Packers in Week 13 is an extreme outlier next to the numbers every other running back has recorded against them this season.
Frank Gore rushed for 112 against them in Week 1. Since then, not another back besides AP has reached the 100-yard mark.
Marshawn Lynch was held to 98. Steven Jackson was held to 57. Arian Foster was held to 29.
Peterson will need an otherworldly effort to pull this one off.
Of course, he’s been stringing otherworldly efforts together all season long. From starting in Week 1 despite tearing his ACL last December to even approaching the rushing record after undergoing reconstructive surgery and, perhaps the most impressive of all, carrying the Christian Ponder-led Vikings to playoff contention, Peterson has defied odds like it's his job.
The odds are heavily stacked against him once again as he attempts to shatter Dickerson’s record. But this time, he’ll lose to the numbers.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.