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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Adrian Peterson is Really, Really Good

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings running-back, is the best player in the NFL, and it's not close. Without Peterson, the Vikings would be staring another 3-13 season in the face. Instead, they are fighting for a playoff berth with only two games remaining in the regular season. And Peterson deserves all the credit. As he is the Vikings' offense.

Peterson, who tore his ACL one year ago, is having the greatest season by a running back in the history of the NFL. Peterson has: 1,812 rushing yards through 14 games;(an NFL record) 11 rushing touchdowns; six games with at least 150-yards rushing; a 6.3 yards-per-carry average, and an NFL leading 909 rushing yards after contact. All-Day, has rushed for 30% more yards than his closest competitor, Marshawn Lynch, who has 1,379 yards rushing. That's just incredible. Wait, there's more: Doug Martin is second in the NFL with 572 rushing yards after contact-just 337 yards behind Adrian; And Peterson needs just 294 rushing yards over his last two games to break Eric Dickerson's record for most rushing yards in a single season. Dickerson rushed for 2,105 yards in 1984.

What makes Peterson's season even more incredible is the fact that he has received no help from the Vikings' passing game. Christian Ponder, the Minnesota Vikings QB, has thrown for 1,093 yards and seven touchdowns in his last eight games. Meanwhile, Peterson, in the same time frame, has run for 1,313 yards and nine TDs. Peterson's 1,313 rushing yards over his last eight games, are the most rushing yards accrued over any eight-game span in NFL history.

In the last eight Minnesota Viking games: Peterson is averaging 164.1 rushing yards; the Vikings' passing game is averaging 121.5 yards; Peterson has 15 rushes of 20-yards or more; the Vikings' passing game has just 9 plays of 20-yards or more; Peterson is averaging a ridiculous 7.5 yards with each carry he receives; The Vikings' pass offense is averaging just 5.1 yards per pass attempt.

How good would Peterson be with a real QB on his team??? How terrible would this Vikings' team be without Adrian??? I mean, opposing teams know that the Vikings are going to be running the ball, and they still can't slow Peterson down. Defenses' are stacking the line of scrimmage with 8,9 guys, yet Peterson continues to gash them on the ground.

On the other hand, Christian Ponder is facing rudimentary pass-coverages and defenses focused 100% on stopping the run, and he still can't make plays in the passing game. Which leads me to believe Ponder is not the answer at QB. But that's another story for another day.

What Peterson has done this season is spectacular; He has had the greatest season ever by a Minnesota Viking, regardless of position; He is on the cusp of breaking Eric Dickerson's record for most rushing yards in a single season; He has dragged this mediocre Vikings team near a playoff berth; And most importantly- he has cemented himself as the greatest athlete of all-time in Minnesota. And it's not close.

In Minnesota, we have been blessed to watch some great players play for our teams: Killebrew, Allison, Carew, Puckett, Blyleven, Santana, Mauer, Modano, Broten, Gaborik, Mikan, Garnett, Page, Eller, Marshall, Tarkenton, Krause, Carter, and Moss. But none of those men can match Peterson when it comes to talent and production. Peterson is already a top-5 back in NFL history and a first ballot hall-of-famer. And that's if he retired today.

As a Minnesotan, I'm so glad that I get the privilege and opportunity to watch Peterson's greatness each and every week.  Every time he gets the hand-off from Ponder, there's an audible gasp in the crowd, because they know that he has the chance to score from anywhere on the field. And that gasp is why we are all sports fans. It's the thrill of not knowing what is going to happen; the thrill of competition. Minnesota has never been blessed with a better competitor than Adrian Peterson. So we should enjoy him while he lasts, because Adrian Peterson's only come around once in a great while. 30-years from now, we will be telling our kids/grandkids stories about how great his career was. And they will not believe us, because his career has been something that needs to be seen to believe.

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