Posted December 01, 2013

Adrian Peterson wills Vikings to overtime win, adds his name to NFL history

Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, NFC North
Adrian Peterson became the 28th member of the NFL's 10,000-yard club

Adrian Peterson became the 28th member of the NFL’s 10,000-yard club Sunday. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)

There are times when Adrian Peterson is unstoppable. Not in a metaphorical “You can only hope to contain him” sense, but in an actual, literal “We are stacking 12 men in the box on every play and he’s still gashing our defense for 10 yards per play” sense. So it was when Peterson’s Minnesota Vikings beat the Chicago Bears 23-20, in overtime, and Peterson ran for a season-high 211 yards in the game.

Starting quarterback Christian Ponder was his usual ineffective self before leaving the game with a possible concussion, completing 3-of-8 passes for 40 yards. It didn’t matter — Peterson just kept running. Matt Cassel, Ponder’s replacement, was his usual competent but unexciting self, completing 20-of-33 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It didn’t matter — Peterson just kept running. And in the fifth quarter, when it seemed that neither team wanted to win the game and kept bouncing it to each other, it didn’t matter — Peterson just kept running. And when the Vikings needed him the most on their final drive, Peterson just kept running, and did more than his part to put kicker Blair Walsh in position to kick the game-winning field goal with 1:41 left in overtime.

The Vikings were stalled at the Chicago 42-yard line, but Peterson got the ball down to the 16 with 26 rushing yards on three plays. Eleven yards here, four yards there, 11 more yards to finish the drive. As much of a mess as this team has been on offense this year, there may be no player in the NFL who carries his team on his back more — and past said team’s limitations.

There was a historical aspect to his performance as well — Peterson became the third-fastest back to push past the 10,000-rushing yards total in his NFL career. Only Jim Brown (98) and Eric Dickerson (91) did it in fewer games than Peterson’s 101. The mark came on one of the two 4th-and-1 situations Peterson converted in the game, when he broke off for a 19-yard scamper from the Chicago 31-yard line with 9:15 left in the game. Once again, it was Peterson’s job to make the play when few others could. He had just 72 yards on 11 carries in the first half, and became more and more productive as the game went on, even though Chicago’s defense was fully aware (as every other Vikings opponent is aware) who would decide the success of Minnesota’s offense.

“You’ve watched him play throughout his career,” Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. “He’s amazing in so many ways. Even last year playing with a sports hernia at the end of the year and to come out now with a groin that’s sore and really inhibits him in a lot of ways — to continue to battle through it and perform the way he performed. It’s just amazing. I don’t know if medically you’d ever say a guy could carry the ball 35 times, rush for 211 yards dealing with what he’s dealing with, the hamstring earlier in the season and now the groin. He’s amazing.”

What Frazier said is worth clarifying —  Peterson did all of this with a groin injury that had bothered him throughout the week.

“I don’t know,” Peterson said with a laugh this week, when asked how he thought he’d do against a Bears defense allowing a league-worst 415.2 yards per game coming into this contest. “I don’t really want to sit here and make any predictions. I just want to contribute and do whatever it takes to help my team win. So if that’s 300 yards, perfect. If that’s 150, perfect; 50, with 100-something receiving, any way I can help my team get this ‘W’ this weekend, that’s pretty much all I’m worried about. I’m just going to go out there and play ball and let the chips fall where they may.”

If the 3-8-1 Vikings are to win, it’s pretty clear where the chips have to fall. As it has been for years, as long as Adrian Peterson keeps running, Minnesota has a chance.

23 comments
WestcoastMD
WestcoastMD

He's a good guy, but Peterson is incredibly homophobic. That should be remembered by everyone who claims he is "one of the good guys" left in the NFL. He is part of the negative culture in sports in America, with all due respect.

John4
John4

Also, why does Chicago have a LB wearing number 50?  Does that team have any respect for their own players who gave everything they had and helped the Bears to their only SB win?  Shouldn't that number be retired, and NOT available?  Aren't there other numbers a Bears LB could have?  Why number 50?  Bears management needs some class and some perspective.  

John4
John4

The Vikings do not deserve Adrian Peterson.  AD is probably the best player in the NFL, and his own team does nothing for him.  Kind of sad.  

Mikey A
Mikey A

An orange peanut? I accept you.

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

What an insanely great player. I may be a Packers fan but he's one of the best in history.  I'm reminded of Barry Sanders -  Great player, execrable team. Hope he quits early too so his body doesn't take too much damage from the game. 

biglio
biglio

I'm not a Vikings fan by any length but I watch them just to see Peterson, he is really one of the most exciting players in the league and maybe all time. And apparently he's also a nice guy which doesn't hurt.

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

@WestcoastMD I'd rather hear his opinion than not hear it, even if I disagree. His statement wasn't directly insulting like the SF CB's was before the Super Bowl last year, at least. If anything, we all have to understand that some people's beliefs get in the way of their values. Yes, he's clearly homophobic, but I don't think it's outright hateful; he's just not able to step outside his own experiences and comfort zone in order to accept that others, who he might not agree with, deserve the same rights that he does. If he had said "Gay marriage? Can't be none of that sweet stuff" then he can surely be summarily condemned, but he was just being honest and on the wrong side of history. It happens to many people.

ZigZat
ZigZat

@WestcoastMD Are you kidding me?? At least he has some values left, unlike most of America.

larmen42
larmen42

@wlewisiii Actually, the first six years of the Barry Sanders era {1989-1994} the Lions and Packers were pretty comparable {and hardly execrable}.  Head to head regular season was 6-6.  Overall season records: Lions 49-47 and Packers 47-49.  Playoff records: Lions 1-3 and Packers 2-2.  Even from 95-98 when the Packers were doing very well the Lions made the playoffs twice.  You are, however, accurate in your assessment of AP.

WestcoastMD
WestcoastMD

@biglio but he's super homophobic. That may not be a problem to some people, but there some of us who can't stand intolerance, no matter how awesome of a human being they may seem on the outside.

BradSpiner
BradSpiner

@WestcoastMD Why do you keep saying that?  There is no news anywhere about him being homophobic.  The closest there has been is in one interview, shortly before the vote to ban gay-marriage, where he said "I don't believe in that".  That's it!  He didn't elaborate on it whatsoever, so the fact that you're reading into it as him being "super homophobic" makes you a hypocrite.  

Tom52
Tom52

@WestcoastMD @ZigZat he has never said anything hateful. He just feels that marriage should be between a man and a woman. That isn't hateful, it is normal thinking. You are the hateful jerk.

BradSpiner
BradSpiner

@biasedsportsfanNo it doesn't!  I don't believe in smoking or chewing tobacco, but I would never lobby or even vote to make tobacco illegal.