I heard a lot of chatter last season when Vikings star running back went down with an ACL injury that he would never be the same player again. After all, this was a pretty devastating injury to a guy who relies on explosion as much as he does. Having to basically have his knee completely reconstructed, some even predicted he wouldn’t even be ready to go when the 2012 season started. If early results are any indication, everyone has been wrong about all of their predictions.
In just eight games, coming off of an injury that usually requires about a year to recover from fully, Adrian Peterson finds himself leading the league in rushing for a team no one expected much out of this season. And a big reason for their performance this year has to do with Peterson putting the offense on his back and carrying them. Thus, allowing the young Christian Ponder to develop without getting pounded by a relentless pass rush.
So while the Vikings might not be the threat to even make some playoff noise this year, their future is clearly bright. Especially with Peterson showing no ill-effects of his time off or with his recovery.
With another 123 yards on just 15 carries last night against the Bucs, Peterson passed Robert Smith for the all-time franchise record for 100 yard rushing games. On the play that put him over the top, he put a move on Ronde Barber that almost made his sneakers fall off en route to a highlight reel 67 yard touchdown run. Sure, the Vikes were down 20 points at the time and they ultimately lost the game against Tampa, we can’t forget that this team is rebuilding and has already won more games that most any expert expected them to pick up this year.
At 775 yards and 4 touchdowns through eight games, Peterson leads Arian Foster for the NFL lead by 116 yards, but having one more game played than the Texans. Still, this is nothing short of amazing. He’s eclipsed the 100 yard mark three times this year and probably would have more if the Vikings weren’t being so cautious and easing him back into the game. His workload has been pretty light this season, averaging just under 19 carries per game. This is down slightly from his career average, but as time progresses, I’m sure they’ll start to give him more carries. But, at the moment, he isn’t showing that he needs it.
Before the season started, any Vikings fan would have been ecstatic if they had been told that Peterson would break the 1,000 yard mark on the ground this season. And he now looks like he could crack that before the Vikings even hit their bye, the week before Thanksgiving.
It has to be a sigh of relief to fans, fantasy owners, coaches and Peterson himself. Some guys suffer this kind of injury and they become the next Ki-Jana Carter. But Peterson looks to have rehabbed correctly, as his burst in the open field hasn’t slowed down one bit. He’s on course for his fifth pro bowl in six seasons and is still only 27 years old. Him still seeming to have plenty of game left is a treat for fans everywhere, as he is just flat out fun to watch.
As this team rebuilds, it appears they’re doing it the right way and it won’t take as long as some other franchises out there have done. To see Peterson in some big time games again is something I can’t wait to see. And if he continues to play like this, it’ll be sooner rather than later.
Filed under: Minnesota Vikings