How Good Has Adrian Peterson Been this Year?
After Adrian Peterson broke his 82-yard TD run against St. Louis yesterday I received an email from an Eric Dickerson fan stating that Peterson had an unfair statistical advantage compared to other legendary running backs because he routinely uses the in the stadium jumbotron to track defenders chasing him during the play. Yes the email was a serious one. Hopefully this wasn’t a barometer of the IQ of our readers…
How obtuse is that? Do the defenders have an unfair advantage in tracking Peterson’s whereabouts on the field by looking at the same big screen TV during the play? I get a lot of crazy correspondences from readers who are fans / haters of particular players and teams, but that one takes the cake…
Best Season Ever?
After watching Adrian Peterson’s 212-yard performance against the Rams on Sunday, it’s clear that he’s the bionic man. He has to be. Less than a year after major knee surgery, Peterson has now rushed for a league leading 1,812 yards with two games still remaining in the regular season. Those two games, at Houston and home against Green Bay, not only give Peterson the opportunity to become the seventh running back in the history of the league to break the 2,000 yard mark, but to also break the 2,105 yards single season rushing record set by Eric Dickerson in 1984 while playing for the Los Angeles Rams. Putting things into perspective, this comes from a player who according to Tony Dungy, was thought to have come into the season on “pitch count” limiting him to 10-12 carries per game.
The magnitude of AP’s accomplishment doesn’t end there. Peterson’s yards on the ground are being compiled without defenses not having to honor an accomplished passing game. Consider the fact that Vikings quarterback Christian ‘Steele’ Ponder is the 25th ranked quarterback in the game this season (out of 35 QB’s who qualify) averaging just 5.95 yards per pass completion. Peterson on the other hand is averaging 6.3 yards each time Ponder hands him the ball!
With two games to go, the Vikings have a fair shot at making the playoffs. If Peterson breaks Dickerson’s record and in fact leads Minnesota to the playoffs, AP’s season has to be considered the best regular season by a running back in the history of the sport.
In the NFC, the Vikings have by far the most complicated scenario in terms of making the playoffs. For the moment, the Vikes are the NFC’s sixth seed however, they DO NOT control their destiny because there are a number of scenarios where they can win their final two games, finish 10-6 and still miss the playoffs. They would lose a tiebreaker to the Cowboys (common games) and the New York Giants (conference games) in that scenario.
Minnesota’s easiest path to the playoffs is to win their final two games and have the Cowboys and Giants each lose one game. That would avoid a tiebreaker entirely with those teams, and the Vikings would beat the Bears if both teams are 10-6 because of a better division record. The Vikings could however lose to the Texans next week and remain in contention for a wild-card spot if they can beat the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 and finish 9-7. For that to happen both the Giants and Cowboys would have to lose in Week 17, and the Bears would have to finish no better than 9-7.