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Peterson Aims For Record, Vikings Look To Postseason

Adrian Peterson will look to make history on Sunday, but not at the expense of his team making the postseason.

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson will look to break a 28-year-old record this weekend as he approaches Eric Dickerson’s record for most rushing yards in a single season.

Peterson enters this Sunday’s game against Green Bay in need of 208 yards to surpass Dickerson, a 1999 inductee into the Hall of Fame.

As Peterson makes the bid for history, his Minnesota Vikings will look to secure a Wild Card berth, something the team can do with a win over the Packers.

Toe-to-toe with History

In 1984, Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson compiled a total of 2,105 yards on the ground, breaking the single-season record for rushing yards, held at the time by O.J. Simpson, who ran for 2,003 yards in 1973.

Whilst Dickerson’s achievement was celebrated by fans, coaches, teammates, and Dickerson himself, the feat led to something much more important; with a 10-6 record, the Rams made the postseason.

The Rams actually made it to the postseason in all four of Dickerson’s full seasons with the team, making it as far as the conference championship in 1985. Dickerson would also lead the Indianapolis Colts to the postseason in 1988 and 1989.In need of 208 yards with only one game to play, most will automatically dismiss Peterson’s chances of catching Dickerson, but there is still hope for the Palestine, Texas, native.

The six-year tailback has averaged 126.7 yards per game this season. That average is slightly lower (122.7 YPG) at home, but over the last four games at the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome he has averaged 150.3 yards per game.

Last weekend, Peterson tallied 86 yards in Houston, snapping an eight-game stretch of rushing for more than 100 yards. The numbers aren’t on Peterson’s side.

However, in Week 13, Peterson ran for 210 yards against the Packers in Green Bay. A similar performance on Sunday will see him break the record. Green Bay’s defense is ranked 14th against the run, giving up 111.9 yards per game, but the team has already proved susceptible to Minnesota’s running game.

Regardless of whether Peterson does break the record, he’s already assured himself of a place in the top ten (see below) without touching the ball this week.

For both Peterson and the Vikings, something else more important is on the line this Sunday.

Wild Card Pillaging

Peterson will hope to follow in Dickerson’s footsteps and lead his team to the postseason.

As it stands, Minnesota (9-6) is sitting pretty with the final postseason berth. That could easily change this weekend, as Chicago, Dallas, Washington, and the New York Giants all have their eyes set on the playoffs.

The winner of the Cowboys-Redskins game on Sunday night will secure the NFC East title, and the No. 4 seeding that comes along with it. That leaves four teams hunting for one vacant berth.

A loss for Dallas will put the Cowboys (8-7) out of the picture. The Giants (8-7) can only secure a berth if Chicago, Minnesota, and Dallas lose. The Bears (9-6) can advance with a win and a Minnesota loss.

As fortune would have it though, regardless of how any of the other NFC games play out this weekend, Minnesota can advance with a win over Green Bay. That puts the Vikings in charge of their own destiny.

Defeating Green Bay however will be a tall order. The Packers (11-4, 4-3 road) will be looking to sew-up a No. 2 seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. It’ll require a win for that to happen, so the Pack will be playing tough.

However, Aaron Rodgers and Co. has had their share of woes on the road this season. That being said, it’s been three years since the Vikings have secured a win over the Packers. Oddsmakers believe that this is too tall a task for the Vikings, and have Green Bay as favorites (-3) ahead of kickoff.

A loss for the Vikings doesn’t automatically eliminate the side from the postseason. Losses for Dallas (to Washington), Chicago (to Detroit) and the Giants (to Philadelphia) would see the Vikings advance. That’s a lot of cogs to fall into place as far as Minnesota is concerned.

If the Vikings do make it to the postseason, Adrian Peterson’s odds of winning the Most Valuable Player award this season are sure to shrink.

At 3/2, Peterson currently trails Peyton Manning (1/2) in that category. Whilst there’s no denying the job Manning has done in Denver, the Vikings advancing to the postseason is a more stunning task, especially when you consider the team opened the season at 150/1 to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy, with only Cleveland and Jacksonville (both 200/1) having longer odds.

In a season where the Vikings were supposed to struggle, Peterson has the team on the verge of the playoffs, and is on the brink of history himself.


Adrian Peterson: Game by Game

Sep. 9 Vs. Jacksonville – 84 yards*

Sep. 16 at Indianapolis – 60 yards

Sep. 23 Vs. San Francisco – 86 yards*

Sep. 30 at Detroit – 102 yards*

Oct. 7 Vs. Tennessee – 88 yards*

Oct. 14 at Washington – 79 yards

Oct. 21 Vs. Arizona – 153 yards*

Oct. 25 Vs. Tampa Bay – 123 yards

Nov. 4 at Seattle – 182 yards

Nov. 11 Vs. Detroit – 171 yards*

Nov. 25 at Chicago – 108 yards

Dec. 2 at Green Bay – 210 yards

Dec. 9 Vs. Chicago – 154 yards*

Dec. 16 at St. Louis – 212 yards*

Dec. 23 at Houston – 86 yards*

Dec. 30 Vs. Green Bay – TBC

* denotes Minnesota victory


NFL Single-Season Rushing Yards Leaders

1. Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1984), 2,105 yards

2. Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (2003), 2,066 yards

3. Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions (1997), 2,053 yards

4. Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos (1998), 2,008 yards

5. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (2009), 2,006 yards

6. O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills (1973), 2,003 yards

7. Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers (1980), 1,934 yards

8. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (2012), 1,898 yards

9- Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions (1994), 1,883 yards

9- Ahman Green, Green Bay Packers (2003), 1,883 yards

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