When the Vikings resume their regular season slate of games next Monday night against the NY Jets, RB Adrian Peterson will suit up for the 50th game of his NFL career. Given that this is a significant milestone for Peterson and we’re in the midst of a bye weekend, what better time than now to look back at the finest performances of the young superstar’s career?
So, with 49 games in the books and #50 on the horizon, here’s a look at the top 5 games in Peterson’s career (in our opinion). If you have a disagreement or any other thoughts on the matter, leave it in the comments section below this entry.
#5: Game-Winner Over Green Bay
On November 9 of 2008, the Vikings welcomed the Green Bay Packers to the Metrodome for a Week 10 NFC North showdown with division implications on the line. The Vikings came in having lost 5 consecutive games to Green Bay, a streak that left both head coach Brad Childress and Peterson winless against the Green and Gold during their Viking careers. Peterson put an end to the streak in dramatic fashion.
Trailing 27-21 late in the 4th quarter, Peterson took a handoff and bolted through the line of scrimmage and past the Green Bay defense, ultimately reaching out to the endzone pylon to edge out Packers S Atari Bigby for a 29-yard score. That put the Vikings ahead 28-27 and then a missed FG from 52 yards by Mason Crosby sealed the deal for the Vikings.
Peterson sliced up the Green Bay defense on the afternoon, rushing for 192 yards and 1 TD on 30 carries. After the game, Peterson described his performance as the most satisfying of his career to date.
#4: Tossing Defenders Aside
The storyline entering 2009 was that the Vikings had acquired former rival Brett Favre to be their QB. But it didn’t take Peterson long to remind everyone that this was his team. In the Vikings season-opener at Cleveland on September 13, Peterson ripped off one of the most impressive runs of his career along the way to a mammoth performance that paced the Vikings to victory.
The run came in the 4th quarter when he took a handoff and sprinted up the left side of the field. He broke several tackles along the way but then was seemingly cornered by 3 Browns defenders. Rather than simply settle to be tackled after a nice pickup, Peterson refused to be stopped and instead literally threw CB Eric Wright to the side and sprinted away from everyone else for a 64-yard score, his 3rd of the day.
When all was said and done, Peterson had 180 yards and 3 TDs on 25 carries.
#3: Paving the Way for 1st Win of 2010
The Vikings came into their Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions with a surprising 0-2 record. Historically Peterson has played well against the Lions and that trend continued as he led the Vikings to their 1st win of 2010 and logged the longest TD run of his career along the way.
The run came late in the 3rd quarter with the Vikings clinging to a 17-10 lead. Peterson took a handoff and bolted up the middle toward a pack of Lions defenders. That’s when he turned on a dime to the right, headed to the sideline and then turned upfield to outrace a trio of Lions defenders for an 80-yard score that electrified the crowd.
Peterson finished the day with 160 yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries, reminding everyone again why he’s the best RB in the NFL.
#2: Peterson Carries Vikings to Victory at Soldier Field
The Vikings have a long history of great games against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Peterson’s 1st game at the historic venue fits right in. He was a true all-around threat on the afternoon, totaling 361 all-purpose yards to help the Vikings edge out the Bears 34-31.
Peterson was a monster on the ground, churning out 224 yards and 3 TDs on just 20 attempts. He scored on runs of 67, 73 and 35 yards and also broke Chuck Foreman’s team record for rushing yards in a game; it was the most yards the Bears had allowed from an individual in their then 88-year history.
But the most important play of the day for Peterson came on a kick return. Following an 81-yard TD pass from Devin Hester that tied the game at 31, Peterson secured the ensuing kickoff and dashed 53 yards straight up the middle to eventually setup Ryan Longwell for a game-winning 54-yard FG.
The 361 all-purpose yards for Peterson came from 224 yards on the ground, 9 receiving yards and 128 kickoff return yards.
#1: Peterson Sets NFL Single-Game Rushing Record
Having already burst onto the scene with a 100-yard rushing game in his NFL debut and a performance for the ages in Chicago (361 all-purpose yards), Peterson took the field against the San Diego Chargers on November 4 and put together the best single-game rushing performance in the history of the league.
At the time, LaDainian Tomlinson was regarded as the best RB in the NFL. Peterson was in the midst of changing that.
Peterson carried the ball 30 times and rushed for 296 yards, establishing a new single-game record in the NFL and topping the previous record-holder – Jamal Lewis – by a yard. His performance also included 3 TDs on runs of 64, 46 and 1 yard, good enough to lead the Vikings to a 35-17 victory over the Chargers.
2009 NFC Championship Game: 25 carries, 122 yards and 3 TDs
11/15/09 vs. Detroit: 18 carries, 133 yards, 2 TDs
10/18/09 vs. Baltimore: 22 carries, 143 yards
10/19/08 at Chicago: 22 carries, 121 yards, 2 TDs
9/14/08 vs. Indianapolis: 29 carries, 160 yards
9/09/07 vs. Atlanta (NFL debut): 19 carries, 103 yards; 1 rec., 60 yards for a TD
Tags: Adrian Peterson
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 39 Comments »