During Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson became just the seventh running back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season following in the footsteps of O.J. Simpson (1973); Eric Dickerson (1984); Barry Sanders (1997); Terrell Davis (1998); Jamal Lewis (2003); and Chris Johnson (2009).
Peterson needed 102 yards heading into today’s contest to eclipse the 2,000-yard milestone, and reached that mark on a run in the third quarter. This feat comes on the heels of Peterson missing the last week of the NFL season after tearing two ligaments in his knee. He had his surgery and rehab during the off-season and did not miss a single game this season.
Peterson was also dealing with an abdomen injury coming into the week and did not practice leading into the game against the Packers. It didn’t seem to matter much as Peterson approached another milestone — Dickerson’s all time single-season rushing record of 2,105.
The Vikings got the ball with the game tied late in the fourth. Peterson was just 45 yards away from breaking Dickerson’s record. Peterson carried the ball five times during the drive for 36 yards, nine shy of the record. It appeared that Peterson was going to break free on a run with less than 10 seconds left to play in the game. It was a 26-yard run, and it would end his night.
Peterson’s 199 yards on a day that the Vikings needed it the most. With the Chicago Bears winning earlier, the Vikings needed to win to get in against the NFC North Champions, and they were able to come away with a game-winning field goal after Peterson’s 26-yard run.
The day’s performance put a nice cap on what many believe to be an MVP season for Peterson. He now owns the NFL’s second best single-season rushing record while playing for a team with the league’s worst passing offense.
It’s still up in the air whether or not Peterson will come away with the league’s most prominent individual award. But whether or not he wins MVP will not take away from the fact that he just finished with one of the greatest seasons any running back has ever seen, falling just nine-yards shy of the single-season rushing record.