The single-season record for rushing yards is 2,105, posted by the Rams’ Eric Dickerson. That record has stood for a long time – since 1984 in fact – but thanks to Adrian Peterson it is in serious jeopardy. Peterson’s 2012 mark stood at an even 1,600 going into Sunday’s game. That gave Peterson three games to rack up the 506 yards needed to surpass Dickerson.
A long-shot? Maybe. But on Sunday, Peterson gashed Dickerson’s old team the Rams for 212 yards. That gave Peterson 1,313 yards in 8 games, an NFL record over such a span. On the season Peterson now has 1,812 yards total. So, Peterson now needs 294 yards to surpass Dickerson and claim the NFL record for most yards in a season.
Can Adrian really pull off this amazing feat? It won’t be easy. The Vikings next face the Houston Texans, a team with a strong run defense. Adrian will need a great game against the good Houston D to give himself a realistic chance. If he can take a good chunk out of that 294, he will get a shot to break the record the final week of the season at home against, of all teams, the Packers.
This will create a very interesting set of circumstances. Certainly the Packers’ defense won’t want to give up the record-breaking performance. But at this time of year playoff positioning is more important than pride. The Packers have already clinched a playoff berth, so who knows what that final game will ultimately mean to them. They might need that game for seeding purposes or they might not. If not, they could conceivably sit starters and basically concede the game to the Vikings.
But keep this one thing in mind. Last year the Packers ran up a great regular season record and then dialed it back at the end to save themselves for the playoffs. And what happened? They were bounced in their first game despite their #1 seed. That experience certainly looms large in Green Bay’s mind. So we shouldn’t assume the Packers will just pack it in the last game of the season. Even if they don’t need that game for seeding reasons, they might still keep in the starters and play it like a normal game, for reasons of momentum.
Of course the way Adrian is running it might not matter. Put any defense out there and they’ll likely get run over. I personally can’t wait. Peterson vs. the Packers with the record on the line? I wouldn’t want it any other way. And neither would Adrian.
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