'Tis the season...for breaking records.
One night after Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice's 15 year old single-season receiving yards record, more were shattered. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck set the single season rookie passing yards mark and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten set the record for single season tight end receptions. Staying true to form, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tried to leave his mark in the record books as he chased down Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record.
Dickerson, who ran for 13,259 yards in his 11 year career, set the single-season mark in 1984 with 2,105 rushing yards while playing for the Los Angeles Rams. Since then, only four players have come within 100 yards of breaking the record: Jamal Lewis, Barry Sanders, Chris Johnson, and Terrell Davis. OJ Simpson is the fifth member of the hallowed 2,000 yard club, and was the first ever to reach the milestone after breaking Jim Brown's rushing record in 1973.
Adrian Peterson, who had run for 100+ yards the last eight games including two games of 200+, was held to only 86 yards in a 23-6 win against the Houston Texans and their fifth-ranked run defense—he now has 1,898 yards on the season. With Peterson 208 yards from passing Dickerson in the record books, should Vikings fans be worried about Peterson's quest for the record?
Remember, this is the guy who set the single-game rushing record against the San Diego Chargers in his rookie season with 296 yards. He ran for over 200 yards twice in the last four games. He has more rushing yards by himself than 23 other NFL teams. And in the Vikings' last meeting with the Green Bay Packers, their Week 17 opponent, Peterson ran for 210 yards.
In correlation with the record, Peterson needs 102 yards to join the 2,000 yard club and, at age 27, would be the second oldest player to get there (Barry Sanders was 29 when he accomplished the feat in 1997).
And you can never count Adrian Peterson out. Despite tearing his ACL in Week 16 last year, Peterson has bounced back in Adrian Peterson-like fashion, setting a franchise and career high in rushing yards, is likely the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and should be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player.
Is it unlikely that Peterson runs for 208 yards against the Packers next week? Yes. But he might just leave everyone standing in awe of his accomplishments.