Adrian Peterson's Season Will Go Down in History Even Without Rushing Record

By Andrew Fisher
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve had the opportunity to watch Adrian Peterson play football this season, you’ve been treated to many history-making performances. Peterson has defied the odds and set new standards for players coming back from ACL surgery in 2012.

Only eight months removed from an operation to reconstruct both his MCL and ACL, Peterson returned to the field for opening day. He raised eyebrows immediately when he ran for 86 yards and two touchdowns. People started to think that maybe he didn’t come back too soon.

I was confident all along that AP would return to form this season, however I still thought he’d likely be held out of the first game or two. I figured there was no rush to get him back to a team that was picked to finish dead last in the division, and that it wasn’t worth risking another season or a career. But Peterson has proved all the doubters wrong.

I still predicted him to rush for 1,000 yards, which at the time I thought was even a stretch, but all AP has done is nearly double that production.

After this remarkable year people are actually overlooking the fact that he’ll probably rush for 2,000 yards. Now all sights are set on Eric Dickerson‘s NFL single-season rushing record (2,105).

It would be amazing to witness Peterson break the record while sending his team to the playoffs Sunday, but even if it doesn’t happen, this will be a season I’ll never forget.

Never before has a running back suffered the dreaded ACL tear and come back so quickly, and never before has someone come back this strong. What Peterson has done is truly inspirational. He set his mind to something, worked his tail off, and got back on the field right where he left off.

Now, you can almost argue that Peterson is a better player. The coaches say he’s more patient, but I think that the injury refocused him. For the first time in his life, Peterson had football taken away from him. He had to put every ounce of energy into making it back, and his hard work has paid off big time. Now I’m sure he doesn’t even take one play for granted.

Week after week I’m still amazed at what he does on the field, not even considering the injury, what he does from the running back position is truly special.

So regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, and regardless of whether the record is broken, Adrian Peterson’s 2012 will go down in history as one of the best seasons for a running back in the history of the NFL.

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Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter @the_realfish

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