It's been almost 12 years since the Minnesota Vikings' all-time leading rusher Robert Smith suddenly retired, leaving players like Michael Bennett, Ontario Smith, Ciatrick Fason, and Artose Pinner in his wake.
It's only been four and a half seasons since the Minnesota Vikings drafted an injury-prone running back from Oklahoma to challenge Chester Taylor, who ran 1,200-plus yards the previous season for the starting position.
In only 73 games, Peterson has run into the Vikings record books and only needs 160 yards to eclipse Smith and his 6,818 yards as the all-time leading rusher in Vikings history...which is one of the bright spots in a dim 2011 season.
After a 27-21 loss at home to the Oakland Raiders, the Vikings now fall to 2-8. Not only that, but Peterson left the game early with a high ankle sprain and is listed as questionable heading into Thanksgiving weekend. At a press conference on Monday, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told the media that Peterson will use a walking boot for a couple of days.
Barring any sort of career-threatening injury or a Larry Johnson-esk exile, Peterson will become the franchise's leading rusher. It's not a question of if, but when.
The Vikings are obviously going to pay close attention to Peterson's injury this week before the team travels to Atlanta this weekend. Vikings play-by-play announcer Paul Allen told listeners on Monday morning that Peterson should sit this Sunday.
"That's not a report," Allen clarified. "It's an opinion."
Allen says that this would be a great opportunity for coaches and fans to get a look at former Heisman candidate Toby Gerhart, whom the Vikings spent a second round pick on in the 2010 NFL Draft. At 2-8, the Vikings will begin to look at next year by evaluating what some of their younger players can do.
This affects the concept of this entire article: Will Adrian be able to break the rushing record at home?
Denver's defense is currently ranked 16th in total defense, giving up 114 yards per game. However, Peterson is the guy who rushed 296 yards against San Diego in 2007. He is also the guy who is about to break the all-time rushing record for a franchise that has been around for over 50 years.
Vikings fans haven't had much to be excited about this year: Blowing double-digit leads in three games to start the season, the Donovan McNabb (Remember that guy?) experiment, or being blown out by Chicago and Green Bay on national television. Don't forget last year's messes with Randy Moss, Childress being fired, or the Tuesday night game in Detroit against the Giants after the Dome collapsed. Vikings fans deserve something for their loyalty, and that should be Peterson receiving the opportunity to get the rushing record in front of his home fans.