Eye On 2,000

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 4, 2012 – 7:05 am

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson vowed to be better than ever in returning from a serious knee injury that ended his 2011 season and caused many to wonder if he’d ever be the same. As is typical for Peterson, he set the bar high and has gone above and beyond the expectations.

Through 12 games, Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 1,446 yards, and he’s on pace for a career-high 1,928 yards. He has a 308-yard lead over Marshawn Lynch, who is 2nd in the NFL in rushing, and he leads Doug Martin and Alfred Morris by 340 yards. Peterson is averaging 6.2 yards per carry, the 3rd-highest single-season per carry average among runners with at least 200 attempts in NFL history.

Speaking of setting the bar high, Peterson has also stated in the past that his goal is to surpass the 2,000-yard mark, a feat accomplished just 6 times in NFL history. While his 16-game pace would have him fall 72 yards short, keep in mind that over the last six games he’s averaged 157.8 rushing yards per contest. At that rate over the season’s final 4 games, Peterson would surpass the 2,000-yard mark and would finish with 2,077 yards, the second-highest single-season total in NFL history behind Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 in 1984.

We discussed the possibility of Peterson reaching the 2,000-yard mark back in mid-November. At the time, we noted that Peterson would need to average 145.3 yards per game over the final 6 contests. But after thrashing the Bears and Packers for 318 yards over the past 2 weeks, Peterson can average 138.5 yards per contest and still reach 2,000 yards.

Will he do it? I will never bet against him, so I’m saying yes. What do you think? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry.

2012 NFL Rushing Leaders
Adrian Peterson               1,446
Marshawn Lynch              1,138
Doug Martin                       1,106
Alfred Morris                     1,106
Arian Foster                       1,102

NFL Single-Season Rushing Leaders
Eric Dickerson                    2,105     1984
Jamal Lewis                        2,066     2003
Barry Sanders                    2,053     1997
Terrell Davis                       2,008     1998
Chris Johnson                    2,006     2009

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