Calvin Johnson has already surpassed Jerry Rice for most receiving yards in a single season. Adrian Peterson could be next up, as he has Eric Dickerson’s rushing record in his sights.
However, the running back’s attempt to make history may have been hurt by an injury that he suffered in Week 16. Peterson has a strained abdominal muscle, which forced him to sit out the final minutes of the Minnesota Vikings win over the Houston Texans.
Peterson is 208 yards shy of breaking Dickerson’s record. The Hall of Famer set the record in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams, rushing for 2,105 yards.
With one game remaining in the regular season, a healthy Peterson would have a good chance of becoming the new single-season rushing leader. He’s rushed for at least 208 yards two times in the past four weeks. Peterson has even been discussed as an MVP candidate, along with the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. A running back hasn’t won the award since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
Leslie Frazier said the decision to sit Peterson was a precautionary measure, and the team will monitor the running back’s progress heading into Week 17.
“We’ll have to see how he does this week, how much work that we'll give him as we get ready for this ballgame, which will be a huge ballgame for our team,” said the Vikings head coach.
The injury to Peterson won’t only affect his attempt at chasing history. It could also have an impact on the Vikings' playoff chances.
The Vikings are 9-6 and in the lead for the final wild card spot in the NFC. A win at home against the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 would give Minnesota their first playoff berth since 2009.
Peterson has been perhaps the biggest reason for Minnesota’s success this year. Quarterback Christian Ponder has not improved much in his second season. Twenty-four other quarterbacks have thrown for more yards than Ponder. He’s also registered more turnovers than touchdowns.
Despite his injury, Peterson is expected to play on Sunday. Frazier described him as “a little bit sore” with the game just a few days away.