It’s rare to have a running back who gets to 2000 yards in one season. Only 7 players in NFL history have managed that feat, all of them only once, with Adrian Peterson being the last player to do it, accomplishing it last season. This year he isn’t going to reach that mark, but he is on pace to finish with the most yards ever for a running back coming off a +2000 season.
Except for Terrell Davis, who barely made it to a total of 1000 yards in the three seasons that followed his 2000 mark due to injuries that kept piling up, every one of the running backs that made it to 2000 yards followed it up with a good, solid, 1000 yards or more season. The best mark up until now belonged to none other than Barry Sanders, who ran for 1491 yards in 1998, his final season with the Detroit Lions before retiring quite shockingly after only 10 seasons in the NFL.
Peterson isn’t having the season of his dreams. His son (that he barely knew) was murdered during the season, and the Vikings are no where near as good as they were last season when they made the playoffs. They lost seven of their first eight games, but things have looked better over the last month both for the Lions and Peterson.
He has put in two consecutive games of over 140 yards – 146 in the tie with the Green Bay Packers and he ran for 211 yards in the win over the Chicago Bears, reaching 1208 yards this season, the most in the NFL. He’s also first in the league with 10 rushing touchdowns, and leading all players with 100.7 yards per game. If he carries on like this, and according to last season, which was about him having a massive second half to the season, he’s on pace to make it to 1611 yards.
The best running back of all-time? Peterson’s body of work is only 7 years long, which means that if he stays injury free, he has plenty of more yards to run and touchdowns to score. However, few running backs in history have been this consistent at such a high level for so long, and Peterson coming off a historic, MVP year with a very efficient one despite all the difficulties teaches us even more about what a great player he is.