Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson in Decline?

By Marilee Gallagher
Adrian Peterson runs
USAToday Sports – Bruce Kluckhohn

Sometimes, motivation can come from the unlikeliest of places. For Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, that place was an article written on Yahoo! Sports by Michael Salfino.

The article chronicled the fact that Peterson’s numbers were down this year compared to last and that in some areas, he was exactly 50 percent less productive on the field. While one could normally argue that as a valid point, last season for Peterson went down as the second-best of all-time for any running back to ever play the game. It is kind of hard to top that.

Regardless of the holes in the argument, the writer is in fact correct about the numbers. In 2013 and with 12 games played, Peterson has managed to run for just over 1,200 yards and 10 TDs. He is averaging just 4.6 yards a carry, which is a career-low as well. While most guys would jump to have numbers like these, if the season ended today, this would be the second-worst season in Peterson’s career.

A far cry from last season? Sure. A sign of decline? Not in your dreams.

Let’s just say, though, that Peterson is in some sort of decline. After all, he has rushed for less than 100 yards seven times already this season, whereas he did it on just six occasions last year. And there are the injuries to consider. There is the groin issue this year, but also the factor of wear and tear on his bionic knees.

On top of all of that, the Vikings have no quarterback, so the team is basically running Peterson into the ground. If he isn’t in decline yet, it may not be that far off. Even Eric Dickerson, who set his rushing records as a result of a poor QB situation, knows that for Peterson to keep playing at the level that he is, he needs some help.

However, the writer wasn’t talking about what might happen two or three or five years from now. He was asserting that Peterson was in decline now, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The article was posted after Peterson failed to top 75 yards in five of his previous six games. Since the posting however, Peterson has put together back-to-back weeks of at least 140 yards on the ground.

This includes Sunday’s 211-yard performance against the Chicago Bears, which was just two yards shy of being a career-best for the veteran back.

The moral of the story is Peterson didn’t flinch. Maybe he didn’t read the article, or maybe he didn’t care. Maybe he just kept doing what he does best and played hard-nosed football, taking what the league’s 32nd-ranked run defense gave him. Whatever the reason, Peterson is likely to have shut up that columnist and any in the near future that even dare to consider that this could be the “beginning of the end.”

Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17, like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.

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