With three games left in the season, Peterson is within rushing distance of 2,000 yards on the ground. In fact, he’s just 400 yards away from becoming the seventh back to accomplish the feat. Peterson won’t be happy with merely joining the elite club, though. He wants to be at the head of it.
After rushing for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Vikings’ 21-14 win over the rival Bears on Sunday, giving him 1,600 yards on the year, Peterson expressed an interest in breaking Eric Dickerson‘s long-standing single-season rushing record, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
Adrian Peterson tells me his eye is on Eric Dickerson's all-time record of 2,105 yards, not just 2,000. Needs 506 to break it now.—
Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) December 10, 2012
Dickerson’s 2,105 yards, which he achieved with the Los Angeles Rams in 1984, has been chased by many running backs since that epic season. But only five players have even come close over the past 28 seasons.
Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis and, most recently, Chris Johnson in 2009 have all hit the 2,000-yard marker, but none were able to eclipse the lofty figure. Lewis came closest, running for 2,066 yards as he finished just 39 yards shy of history.
Where other backs have come short, Peterson is hoping to succeed, though. And who’s to say he won’t?
This is the same guy, after all, who has rushed for more than 970 yards in each of his six NFL seasons, including five in which he’s reached at least 1,250. He’s the same player who was back on the football field just seven months after a debilitating knee injury, and the very same back who has now run for over 100 yards in each of the past seven games. And mind you, he’s doing all this in the new age air it out brand of the NFL.
If there’s any running back in football that could break that all-time mark, Peterson is that back. He’s powerful through the tackles, elusive on the outside, relentless after contact and dedicated beyond belief.
Will he actually break the record? Well, he’ll need more than 133 yards per game to reach 2000, and better than a 168-yard average in the Vikings’ last three games to catch Dickerson. Whether he breaks the record or not, Peterson has had a tremendous season and should be commended for it. But if he does reach that total, there’s no doubt that he also deserves the MVP — a conversation he should be more prominently featured in as it is.