Adrian Peterson‘s 2012 season was simply incredible. The Minnesota Vikings‘ running back rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 2012 rushing yardage total is the second most for a single season in NFL history, trailing only Eric Dickerson‘s 2,105 in 1984. The fact that Peterson was coming off of major knee surgery was just the cherry on top. He rehabbed at an incredible pace from a devastating injury and put together one of the greatest seasons by a running back in NFL history. The guy is simply a freak of nature.
Earlier this offseason, Peterson claimed that he will rush for 2,500 yards during the 2013 season. “I want to try to set the ball higher than that,” Peterson told NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk. “I want to make it the 2,500 club. … Enjoy this last year because the record’s going down, with ease.”
While Peterson’s recovery was simply magnificent and he has the talent to do whatever he puts his mind to, this seems ridiculous. He expects to rush for almost 400 more yards than any other running back in NFL history? Peterson is a freak of nature, but this is not going to happen.
First of all, Christian Ponder is the Vikings’ quarterback. I understand that Minnesota is going to give Peterson the ball as much as he can handle but defenses will be stuffing the box against Peterson because Ponder is no threat to beat them with the pass. Peterson may be one of the best running backs of all-time, but he cannot do it by himself.
Secondly, Peterson is 28 this season. While that is not old to you and me, it is getting up there in NFL RB age. Most running backs start to see a decline in this part of their careers. Peterson is a freak and I would not be surprised if his talent prevails, but he has had a lot of work in his career and history is not on his side. Peterson may start to look more human this season.
Now, let’s just think of how ridiculous it is to think that Peterson is that much better than every running back in NFL history. Guys like Dickerson, Faulk, Walter Payton, Jim Brown and Barry Sanders never even sniffed 2,500 yards. You could argue that Peterson is the best running back in NFL history, but he is surely not head and shoulders better than everybody else.
When it is all said and done, Peterson will not even come close to 2,500 yards. I can envision a scenario where he breaks or comes close to breaking Dickerson’s record once again, but smashing it by nearly 400 yards? Not going to happen, keep dreaming Adrian.