Thanks to Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings are playing meaningful games in December. As a team, the Vikings are still alive in the NFC playoff picture. Individually, Peterson is making a play for the record books -- the single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.
Peterson was not expected back at the start of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL in Week 16 last December. Miraculously, he was ready to go Week 1 and looked to be close to 100 percent in the first month of the season. But he's only gotten stronger as the season has worn on, and he's already rushed for more than 100 yards in the first half against the Rams.
It will be the eighth straight game that Peterson has broken the 100-yard mark. Most of the damage came on an 82-yard burst up the middle, his longest of the year. In those eight straight games over 100 yards, he's been over 150 in five of them. He appears well on his way to another 150-plus game in St. Louis.
Peterson entered Week 15 with 1,600 yards and needed to average just over 168 yards per game in the final three weeks in order to chase down Dickerson's mark. He's got 119 yards in the first half in St. Louis. A couple more quick strikes like the 82-yarder against the Rams and Dickerson's record will be in serious danger.
Aside from the rushing record, Peterson is making a strong push in the second half of the season as the league's Most Valuable Player. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning get plenty of the headlines, but Peterson is just as valuable to a Minnesota team that's in the hunt with three games to play. Andrew Siciliano had an astounding statistic that demonstrated just how much Peterson accounts for in the Vikings offense:
He's only adding to it today, averaging 9.2 yards per carry in the first half. The Vikings are up big, leading 30-7 at half so expect Peterson to get plenty of carries in the second half.