Adrian Peterson (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY)
Adrian Peterson fell just short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, but Dickerson’s single-game playoff record isn’t on his mind. However, a run at Dickerson’s record next year is.
Adrian Peterson came up 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, but there are other goals on the horizon for the intensely motivated running back.
Peterson has rushed for 210 yards and 199 yards in his two games against the Green Bay Packers this season, the higher total coming at Lambeau Field on Dec. 2. He returns to Lambeau for a colder, playoff-version rematch Saturday night and there is another Dickerson record that could be in his sights.
In addition to the single-season rushing record in 1984, Dickerson also holds the single-game rushing record for the playoffs – going for 248 yards in a 1985 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Peterson, however, said playoff records are not on his radar.
“No, once you get in the playoffs, nothing else matters but winning. But, no, I’m not worried about records or anything,” Peterson said. “If they never would have said anything about the record that I had the opportunity to get, I probably wouldn’t have worried about it then. Just play my game and let what happens happen. You guys know how it goes.”
But before Dickerson’s 248-yard playoff mark is considered out of reach, it should be noted that Peterson holds the all-time single-game rushing record with 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers during a 2007 regular-season game and has two games this year with more than 200 yards.
Despite him not shooting for Dickerson’s playoff record, he is looking to not only break Dickerson’s single-season record next but obliterate it.
Next year, Peterson said, he has his sights set on 2,400 or more rushing yards.
“It will just give me something else to shoot for next year. My goal won’t be to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. It’s going to be trying to get 2,400, 2,500 yards,” Peterson said during a conference call with Green Bay reporters this week. “That’s just how I look at things. With me setting it that high, then, obviously, breaking his record will happen.”
His fullback, Jerome Felton, believes Peterson will reach it in the 2013 season.
“I think he’s got it. I told him after the game, ‘Man, if I’m back here, we’re getting that record next year,’” said Felton, a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career who is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason. “Obviously we knew the most important thing was making the playoffs, but we feel like we’ll get that record next year.”
The Vikings have begun to rely on Peterson more these days. He didn’t reach the 20-carry mark in six of the first nine games this season. He’s reached that mark in six of the last seven games and every one of the last five games – including marks of 31, 24, 25 and finally a career-high 34 carries last week.
“It is a lot of carries, a ton of carries. He’s doing his part during the week to try to get restored and get himself fresh for each and every game, but a lot of work,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said.
“He takes care of himself in the training room. He’s always lifting, but he’s getting good treatment there with our training staff and making sure he rests up so he can be ready to roll each weekend.”
Peterson didn’t practice again Wednesday because of an abdominal injury that has bothered him for the better part of a month, but the Vikings have also been conscientious of giving him rest during the week in the last month. His absence at Wednesday’s practice was no surprise and of little concern.
“Not sore at all, outside of what I’ve been battling for the past six weeks,” Peterson said. “But my body, my knee, my shoulders, everything feels good.
“… My body feels great. I could play for 12 more games if I have to.”
In addition to Peterson missing practice, CB Antoine Winfield (hand) and LB Tyrone McKenzine (shoulder) were sidelined with their injuries. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said he doesn’t have any doubt Winfield will try to play.
The over-under for Adrian Peterson's rushing yards on Saturday is 125½, according to Bovada.lv. Ponder’s over-under on passing yardage is 180½.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said Peterson has been lobbying him to get on the field goal block team or be used as a kickoff returner. Peterson returned some kicks in the past, mainly in his rookie season of 2007, and averaged 25.2 yards on 17 previous kickoff returns. That’s still not as good as the Vikings’ main kickoff return man this year (after the season-ending injury to Percy Harvin), Marcus Sherels, who is averaging 26.4 on 16 this season.
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.