Adrian Peterson (Andy King/Getty)
Adrian Peterson wants to win a couple championships, but the Vikings haven’t even had a winning season since 2009. He is applying his mantra to running the ball to his career goals: patience. Still, as he eyes the 2,000-yard mark for the season, his goals extend beyond the yardage numbers.
Adrian Peterson wants to win a couple championships, but the Vikings haven’t even had a winning season since 2009. He is applying his mantra to running the ball: patience. Still, as he eyes the 2,000-yard mark for the season, his goals extend beyond the yardage numbers.
Adrian Peterson preaches patience in his running style and he’s maintaining that outlook on a global approach to his career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Even as Peterson is staring at his best chance to reach the 2,000-yard mark for a season, he is being patient with a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2009 and might have to win their last four games to make the playoffs this year.
“I want to win a couple championships. However long it takes, I’m going to ride it until the wheels fall off,” Peterson said Thursday in the midst of weekly questions surrounding his return from reconstructive knee surgery and his quest for 2,000 yards in a season.
The Vikings are 6-6 but have lost five of their last seven game and have the most difficult closing schedule in the NFL. They are coming off back-to-back losses to NFC North rivals Chicago and Green Bay on the road and host both of them in the next four games, along with traveling to the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams.
Despite Peterson running for 210 yards on 21 carries against at Chicago last Sunday – his best game of the season – he said the loss to the Bears dampened that effort.
“I wasn’t that proud. I was actually upset because I could have done more,” said Peterson, who holds the NFL single-game record with 296 yards rushing against the San Diego Chargers in his rookie season.
He is on pace for 1,928 yards this year and would need to average 138.5 yards over the next four games to reach 2,000 yards for the season for the first time in his career. Over the last six games, he has averaged 158 yards per game.
“(2,000 yards) is not something I’m thinking about constantly. I feel like if I just continue to go out and play. The way I’ve been playing, then it will come naturally. That saves me a thought,” he said.
“I’m not making it seem like I don’t want to get to 2,000, but I’m making it simple for myself. If I go out and continue to play the way I’ve been playing, then I feel it will continue to come. If I don’t sit there and worry about it and think about it, then go out and play ball and let it come to me, let it happen.”
Asked if Eric Dickerson’s 1984 single-season record of 2,105 yards is in his thoughts, he said, “That sounds good, too.”
If he does get there, it would be all the more amazing considering two facts: He is still less than one year removed from tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last year; and he would be doing it on a team that has become more one-dimensional, with a struggling passing offense, with each passing month.
He admits that with a sputtering passing game, rushing yards are even harder to come by because defenses are concentrating on stopping the run when they face the Vikings. While Peterson has driven the Vikings to the third-ranked rushing offense in the league, their passing game under quarterback Christian Ponder is ranked dead last in the NFL.
Still, Peterson is applying the patience that has improved his running success of late toward his overall outlook with the franchise. Last fall, he signed a seven-year contract extension that could be worth up to $100 million, with $36 million guaranteed.
Since then, however, the Vikings have produced a 3-13 season in 2011 and are 6-6 now. But Peterson isn’t letting the recent track record deter him from his optimistic outlook regarding his goal of a couple championships in Minnesota.
“I feel like they can happen here. I feel like we have the talent to make it happen,” he said. “We’ve just got to get the pieces and put them all together.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.