Adrian Peterson Faces Long Odds To Break Eric Dickerson’s Single Season Rushing Record.

It was Saturday, December 24, 2011 — Christmas Eve — and the Minnesota Vikings were facing the Washington Redskins in a week 16 tilt between two teams that had already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Peterson, clearly in agony after suffering a season ending knee injury.

Peterson, clearly in agony after suffering a season ending knee injury on a hit by DeJon Gomes.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, with fans snug in their seats, but for the Vikings and their fans, there were no visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads.  For on Adrian Peterson’s eleventh carry of the game… it ended with him coming up lame…writhing in pain from a hit to his left knee…by DeJon Gomes, the Redskins safety.

OK, I think that is enough of the cheesy play on ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.”

In a split second you could tell that Vikings WR, Percy Harvin knew the severity of the situation as he waived feverishly to the sideline signaling that Peterson was hurt and needed help.

It was a normal run to the left side of the Vikings offensive line. There were no spin moves, no jukes or quick cuts — just a normal looking 3 yard run. In a game of inches, Peterson’s knee, was in the wrong place, at the wrong time — absorbing a flush hit from Gomes’ shoulder pads.

Eventually, Peterson was helped to his feet — the crowd at FedEx Field showed their support and cheered the All-Pro. He was flanked on each side by a Vikings staff member as he was helped off the field — putting little to no pressure on his injured left knee. Once on the sideline he was then carted to the locker room. A sight that no one wanted to see.

At that point, just based on the video evidence, it was easy to speculate that Peterson had suffered a very serious knee injury. An MRI later confirmed that he tore his ACL and MCL.

The Vikings $100 million dollar man was broken.

If you are old enough you should be able to remember a TV series called the “Six Million Dollar Man.” The series was about an astronaut that was injured in a crash and needed to be rebuilt with bionic parts. Modern sports medicine has come a long way, but there were no bionic parts for Peterson — at least that we know of.

Instead, Peterson was looking at a long and rigorous rehabilitation.  In general, recovery from a torn ACL takes between 8 to 12 months. The start of the 2012 NFL season was approximately 8 months away. The odds seemed long for Peterson to be back for the start of the 2012 season, but both the Vikings and Peterson had that as their target.

But be honest, you didn’t actually believe that Peterson would be able to return by the start of the season, and even if he did, there was no way you thought he would be anywhere near the Adrian Peterson of old.

I didn’t.  I was a doubter.  I was wrong — very wrong.

To the amazement of many — Peterson returned by the start of the season. And since the season started he hasn’t looked back.

The hit that resulted in a torn ACL and MCL for Peterson.

The DeJon Gomes hit that resulted in a torn ACL and MCL for Adrian Peterson.

In just 351 days since tearing both his ACL and MCL, he had rushed for a league leading 1,600 yards — the second highest rushing total of his career, and with three games to go, he very well could best his career high of 1,760 rushing yards.

Setting a career high in rushing yards would be a tremendous feat, especially when the total is 1,760 yards, but that isn’t what Peterson has his eyes on.

Being just 400 yards away from 2000 rushing yards — something only six players in NFL history have done — might be what you expect Peterson has his eyes on, but it’s not.

Peterson has said that he wants to break Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 rushing yards in a single NFL season. To do that Peterson will need to rush for 506 yards over his final three games.

Peterson’s performance this year has been nothing short of phenomenal, but the odds that he breaks Dickerson’s single season rushing record are long to say the least.

In NFL history, there have only been 28 instances when a running back was able to rush for more than 506 yards in three consecutive games in the same season.

The following table shows all three game stretches where a running back rushed for more than 506 yards.

Games Player Age Year Team Att Yds Y/A
12-14 O.J. Simpson* 29 1976 Bills 81 647 7.99
9-11 Walter Payton 23 1977 Bears 93 604 6.49
11-13 O.J. Simpson* 29 1976 Bills 78 594 7.62
11-13 Ricky Williams 25 2002 Dolphins 87 587 6.75
6-8 Earl Campbell 25 1980 Oilers 98 583 5.95
12-14 Mike Anderson 27 2000 Broncos 96 577 6.01
7-9 Earl Campbell 25 1980 Oilers 96 562 5.85
14-16 Jerome Harrison 26 2009 Browns 106 561 5.29
12-14 O.J. Simpson* 26 1973 Bills 80 556 6.95
13-15 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 88 555 6.31
11-13 Clinton Portis 22 2003 Broncos 70 553 7.9
8-10 Walter Payton 23 1977 Bears 91 546 6
12-14 Ricky Williams 25 2002 Dolphins 85 545 6.41
11-13 Mike Anderson 27 2000 Broncos 86 543 6.31
2-4 Jamal Lewis* 24 2003 Ravens 79 542 6.86
1-3 O.J. Simpson* 28 1975 Bills 86 538 6.26
4-6 Eric Dickerson* 23 1983 Rams 80 533 6.66
7-9 Shaun Alexander 27 2004 Seahawks 80 531 6.64
12-14 Clinton Portis 22 2003 Broncos 94 527 5.61
2-4 O.J. Simpson* 28 1975 Bills 86 524 6.09
10-12 Deuce McAllister 24 2003 Saints 77 522 6.78
12-14 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 73 520 7.12
11-13 Fred Taylor 24 2000 Jaguars 84 519 6.18
6-8 Marshall Faulk 29 2002 Rams 85 519 6.11
14-16 Jamaal Charles 22 2009 Chiefs 74 515 6.96
10-12 Walter Payton 23 1977 Bears 93 513 5.52
5-7 Terrell Davis* 25 1998 Broncos 81 512 6.32
13-15 Jamal Lewis* 24 2003 Ravens 76 510 6.71

*Denotes player is a member of the 2,000 rushing yards club.

O.J. Simpson leads the way from the above list with five instances where he rushed for more than 506 yards in three consecutive games. Five of the six players that have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season made the above list. Chris Johnson is the only player that has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season that didn’t make the above list.

Another thing of note, is that the five players of the  2,000 yard club that rushed for over 506 yards in a three game stretch did so the season that they ran for 2,000 yards.

Eric Dickerson is the only player that accomplished that feat before he rushed for over 2,000 yards, and none of the 2,000 yard club players ever rushed for more than 506 yards in three consecutive games any time in their careers after they topped the magical 2,000 yard number.

O.J. Simpson is the only player to close out a season the way Peterson will need to if he wants to take down Dickerson’s record. From week 12 thru 14 (14 game schedule in 1973) Simpson ran for 556 yards.

While Peterson has never run for 506 yards or more in a three game span I can’t use that as a reason to say he won’t. Because as it was already pointed out, Dickerson is the only player to have accomplished that before rushing for 2,000 yards.

What Peterson has done, is run for more than 402 yards in a three game span nine times.  If he can average 134 yards/game (402 yards) over his final three games he will join the 2,000 yard club.

I would say that the odds of that happening are much better.  After all, in NFL history, there are 288 instances where a player ran for 402 or more yards in a three game stretch.

The following table shows all three game stretches where a running back rushed for more than 402 yards.
This is a long table but more on Peterson follows it.

Games Player Age Year Tm Att Yds Y/A
12-14 O.J. Simpson* 29 1976 Bills 81 647 7.99
9-11 Walter Payton* 23 1977 Bears 93 604 6.49
11-13 O.J. Simpson* 29 1976 Bills 78 594 7.62
11-13 Ricky Williams 25 2002 Dolphins 87 587 6.75
6-8 Earl Campbell* 25 1980 Oilers 98 583 5.95
12-14 Mike Anderson 27 2000 Broncos 96 577 6.01
7-9 Earl Campbell* 25 1980 Oilers 96 562 5.85
14-16 Jerome Harrison 26 2009 Browns 106 561 5.29
12-14 O.J. Simpson* 26 1973 Bills 80 556 6.95
13-15 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 88 555 6.31
11-13 Clinton Portis 22 2003 Broncos 70 553 7.9
8-10 Walter Payton* 23 1977 Bears 91 546 6
12-14 Ricky Williams 25 2002 Dolphins 85 545 6.41
11-13 Mike Anderson 27 2000 Broncos 86 543 6.31
2-4 Jamal Lewis 24 2003 Ravens 79 542 6.86
1-3 O.J. Simpson* 28 1975 Bills 86 538 6.26
4-6 Eric Dickerson* 23 1983 Rams 80 533 6.66
7-9 Shaun Alexander 27 2004 Seahawks 80 531 6.64
12-14 Clinton Portis 22 2003 Broncos 94 527 5.61
2-4 O.J. Simpson* 28 1975 Bills 86 524 6.09
10-12 Deuce McAllister 24 2003 Saints 77 522 6.78
12-14 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 73 520 7.12
11-13 Fred Taylor 24 2000 Jaguars 84 519 6.18
6-8 Marshall Faulk* 29 2002 Rams 85 519 6.11
14-16 Jamaal Charles 22 2009 Chiefs 74 515 6.96
10-12 Walter Payton* 23 1977 Bears 93 513 5.52
5-7 Terrell Davis 25 1998 Broncos 81 512 6.32
13-15 Jamal Lewis 24 2003 Ravens 76 510 6.71
9-11 Frank Gore 23 2006 49ers 67 505 7.54
12-14 Garrison Hearst 27 1998 49ers 64 503 7.86
14-16 Tiki Barber 30 2005 Giants 73 503 6.89
2-4 Jim Brown* 27 1963 Browns 63 502 7.97
14-16 Larry Johnson 26 2005 Chiefs 89 499 5.61
1-3 Jamal Lewis 24 2003 Ravens 68 496 7.29
4-6 Terrell Davis 25 1998 Broncos 71 495 6.97
7-9 Chris Johnson 24 2009 Titans 75 495 6.6
9-11 Earl Campbell* 25 1980 Oilers 97 493 5.08
6-8 Terrell Davis 25 1998 Broncos 88 493 5.6
3-5 Barry Sanders* 26 1994 Lions 78 491 6.29
11-13 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 62 491 7.92
6-8 Chris Johnson 24 2009 Titans 66 491 7.44
1-3 Jim Brown* 27 1963 Browns 57 489 8.58
8-10 Earl Campbell* 25 1980 Oilers 93 489 5.26
10-12 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 74 489 6.61
10-12 Adrian Peterson 27 2012 Vikings 66 489 7.41
14-16 Marshall Faulk* 28 2001 Rams 75 488 6.51
13-15 Corey Dillon 23 1997 Bengals 84 487 5.8
3-5 Barry Sanders* 23 1991 Lions 89 482 5.42
6-8 Edgerrin James 22 2000 Colts 89 482 5.42
8-10 Jim Brown* 25 1961 Browns 72 480 6.67
11-13 O.J. Simpson* 26 1973 Bills 61 480 7.87
12-14 LaDainian Tomlinson 27 2006 Chargers 81 480 5.93
5-7 Reuben Droughns 26 2004 Broncos 92 479 5.21
7-9 Joe Morris 26 1986 Giants 84 478 5.69
8-10 Jim Brown* 27 1963 Browns 69 476 6.9
1-3 O.J. Simpson* 26 1973 Bills 75 476 6.35
7-9 Walter Payton* 23 1977 Bears 74 476 6.43
8-10 Adrian Peterson 27 2012 Vikings 59 476 8.07
11-13 Otis Armstrong 24 1974 Broncos 84 473 5.63
8-10 Joe Morris 26 1986 Giants 87 473 5.44
4-6 Eddie George 27 2000 Titans 100 473 4.73
10-12 Ricky Williams 25 2002 Dolphins 82 473 5.77
11-13 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 81 472 5.83
12-14 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 rams 86 472 5.49
6-8 Doug Martin 23 2012 Buccaneers 70 471 6.73
10-12 Larry Johnson 26 2005 Chiefs 97 470 4.85
12-14 Otis Armstrong 24 1974 Broncos 73 469 6.42
10-12 O.J. Simpson* 29 1976 Bills 78 469 6.01
9-11 Deuce McAllister 24 2003 Saints 73 467 6.4
3-5 Eric Dickerson* 23 1983 Rams 78 466 5.97
6-8 DeMarco Murray 23 2011 Cowboys 55 466 8.47
14-16 Earl Campbell* 25 1980 Oilers 86 465 5.41
4-6 Terrell Davis 24 1997 Broncos 82 465 5.67
11-13 Marcus Allen* 25 1985 Raiders 83 464 5.59
12-14 Marcus Allen* 25 1985 Raiders 77 464 6.03
6-8 Terrell Davis 24 1997 Broncos 97 463 4.77
8-10 Delvin Williams 25 1976 49ers 74 462 6.24
14-16 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 86 462 5.37
9-11 Charles White 29 1987 Rams 98 462 4.71
9-11 Larry Johnson 25 2005 Chiefs 94 462 4.91
5-7 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 77 461 5.99
9-11 Adrian Peterson 27 2012 Vikings 62 461 7.44
3-5 Jamaal Charles 25 2012 Chiefs 80 461 5.76
3-5 O.J. Simpson* 26 1973 Bills 73 460 6.3
11-13 Jerome Bettis 21 1993 Rams 62 460 7.42
14-16 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 72 459 6.38
12-14 Tiki Barber 30 2005 Giants 91 459 5.04
7-9 LaDainian Tomlinson 27 2006 Chargers 65 459 7.06
6-8 Larry Johnson 26 2006 Chiefs 94 459 4.88
12-14 Jamal Anderson 26 1998 Falcons 88 458 5.2
7-9 Adrian Peterson 27 2012 Vikings 55 458 8.33
8-10 Doug Martin 23 2012 Buccaneers 68 457 6.72
4-6 Earl Campbell* 26 1981 Oilers 92 456 4.96
11-13 Jamal Lewis 21 2000 Ravens 81 456 5.63
4-6 Barry Sanders* 23 1991 Lions 82 455 5.55
9-11 Ahman Green 26 2003 Packers 77 455 5.91
5-7 Earl Campbell* 26 1981 Oilers 103 454 4.41
2-4 Stephen Davis 29 2003 Panthers 84 454 5.4
7-9 Doug Martin 23 2012 Buccaneers 73 454 6.22
8-10 Shaun Alexander 28 2005 Seahawks 80 453 5.66
7-9 Adrian Peterson 23 2008 Vikings 77 452 5.87
14-16 George Rogers 27 1985 Redskins 94 451 4.8
12-14 Jerome Bettis 21 1993 Rams 68 451 6.63
6-8 Corey Dillon 25 2000 Bengals 64 451 7.05
11-13 Kevin Jones 22 2004 Lions 71 451 6.35
8-10 Larry Johnson 25 2005 Chiefs 85 450 5.29
12-14 Larry Johnson 26 2005 Chiefs 87 450 5.17
5-7 Clinton Portis 27 2008 Redskins 77 449 5.83
12-14 Corey Dillon 23 1997 Bengals 84 448 5.33
12-14 Jamal Lewis 21 2000 Ravens 87 448 5.15
6-8 Emmitt Smith* 24 1993 Cowboys 81 446 5.51
12-14 Corey Dillon 25 1999 Bengals 76 445 5.86
12-14 Ladell Betts 27 2006 Redskins 83 445 5.36
13-15 Garrison Hearst 27 1998 49ers 71 444 6.25
9-11 Fred Taylor 24 2000 Jaguars 82 444 5.41
14-16 Jamal Lewis 24 2003 Ravens 73 444 6.08
13-15 Jerome Harrison 26 2009 Browns 80 443 5.54
4-6 Jim Brown* 27 1963 Browns 69 442 6.41
10-12 Wilbert Montgomery 25 1979 Eagles 81 442 5.46
13-15 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 68 442 6.5
11-13 Priest Holmes 29 2002 Chiefs 63 442 7.02
1-3 Walter Payton* 25 1979 Bears 81 441 5.44
10-12 Fred Taylor 24 2000 Jaguars 75 441 5.88
10-12 Clinton Portis 22 2003 Broncos 73 441 6.04
13-15 Larry Johnson 26 2005 Chiefs 89 441 4.96
14-16 Jonathan Stewart 22 2009 Panthers 69 440 6.38
9-11 Gary Brown 24 1993 Oilers 79 439 5.56
12-14 LaDainian Tomlinson 28 2007 Chargers 64 439 6.86
9-11 Jim Brown* 25 1961 Browns 74 438 5.92
2-4 Bobby Humphrey 23 1990 Broncos 78 438 5.62
7-9 Corey Dillon 25 2000 Bengals 65 438 6.74
8-10 Ahman Green 26 2003 Packers 71 438 6.17
3-5 Adrian Peterson 22 2007 Vikings 57 438 7.68
9-11 Chris Johnson 24 2009 Titans 73 437 5.99
5-7 Jerome Bettis 25 1997 Steelers 92 436 4.74
11-13 Julius Jones 23 2004 Cowboys 86 436 5.07
13-15 Olandis Gary 24 1999 Broncos 71 435 6.13
7-9 Chris Johnson 27 2012 Titans 55 435 7.91
7-9 Emmitt Smith* 24 1993 Cowboys 78 434 5.56
14-16 Marshall Faulk* 27 2000 Rams 79 434 5.49
1-3 Cadillac Williams 23 2005 Buccaneers 88 434 4.93
14-16 Greg Pruitt 27 1978 Browns 55 433 7.87
5-7 Emmitt Smith* 24 1993 Cowboys 82 433 5.28
14-16 Corey Dillon 23 1997 Bengals 89 433 4.87
4-6 Ahman Green 26 2003 Packers 72 433 6.01
6-8 Thomas Jones 31 2009 Jets 75 433 5.77
12-14 Billy Sims 28 1983 Lions 85 432 5.08
8-10 Shaun Alexander 27 2004 Seahawks 77 432 5.61
10-12 Maurice Jones-Drew 25 2010 Jaguars 75 432 5.76
5-7 Earl Campbell* 25 1980 Oilers 83 431 5.19
9-11 Walter Payton* 31 1985 Bears 76 431 5.67
12-14 Rueben Mayes 23 1986 Saints 81 431 5.32
13-15 Mike Anderson 27 2000 Broncos 78 431 5.53
12-14 Kevin Jones 22 2004 Lions 78 431 5.53
4-6 Jim Brown* 29 1965 Browns 75 430 5.73
8-10 Barry Sanders* 26 1994 Lions 67 430 6.42
11-13 Ladell Betts 27 2006 Redskins 85 430 5.06
6-8 Clinton Portis 27 2008 Redskins 72 430 5.97
14-16 Michael Turner 26 2008 Falcons 76 430 5.66
10-12 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 58 429 7.4
10-12 Julius Jones 23 2004 Cowboys 93 429 4.61
6-8 Adrian Peterson 22 2007 Vikings 62 429 6.92
5-7 Barry Sanders* 26 1994 Lions 65 428 6.58
3-5 Napoleon Kaufman 24 1997 Raiders 67 428 6.39
13-15 Fred Taylor 24 2000 Jaguars 85 428 5.04
5-7 Ricky Williams 23 2000 Saints 97 428 4.41
7-9 Michael Turner 27 2009 Falcons 47 428 9.11
10-12 Don Calhoun 24 1976 Patriots 71 427 6.01
6-8 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 63 427 6.78
10-12 Marcus Allen* 25 1985 Raiders 83 427 5.14
12-14 Earnest Byner 28 1990 Redskins 99 427 4.31
1-3 Emmitt Smith* 26 1995 Cowboys 67 427 6.37
6-8 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 73 427 5.85
3-5 William Andrews 27 1983 Falcons 85 426 5.01
6-8 Gale Sayers* 25 1968 Bears 57 425 7.46
4-6 Walter Payton* 30 1984 Bears 81 425 5.25
13-15 Barry Sanders* 26 1994 Lions 60 425 7.08
8-10 Emmitt Smith* 26 1995 Cowboys 71 425 5.99
7-9 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 71 425 5.99
2-4 Terrell Davis 24 1997 Broncos 69 425 6.16
4-6 LaDainian Tomlinson 24 2003 Chargers 64 425 6.64
13-15 LaDainian Tomlinson 27 2006 Chargers 75 425 5.67
13-15 Earnest Byner 28 1990 Redskins 98 424 4.33
7-9 Eddie George 25 1998 Titans 82 424 5.17
13-15 Tiki Barber 30 2005 Giants 77 424 5.51
3-5 O.J. Simpson* 28 1975 Bills 92 423 4.6
1-3 Tony Dorsett* 27 1981 Cowboys 56 423 7.55
5-7 Roger Craig 28 1988 49ers 66 423 6.41
11-13 Corey Dillon 26 2000 Bengals 86 423 4.92
7-9 Walter Payton* 31 1985 Bears 72 422 5.86
12-14 Fred Taylor 24 2000 Jaguars 77 422 5.48
4-6 Tiki Barber 31 2006 Giants 76 422 5.55
6-8 LaDainian Tomlinson 27 2006 Chargers 58 421 7.26
10-12 Larry Johnson 27 2006 Chiefs 93 421 4.53
8-10 Gary Brown 24 1993 Oilers 72 420 5.83
14-16 Ahman Green 26 2003 Packers 63 420 6.67
6-8 Shaun Alexander 27 2004 Seahawks 70 420 6
4-6 Jim Taylor* 27 1962 Packers 54 419 7.76
13-15 O.J. Simpson* 26 1973 Bills 56 419 7.48
7-9 Shaun Alexander 24 2001 Seahawks 73 419 5.74
13-15 Shaun Alexander 28 2005 Seahawks 68 419 6.16
13-15 Ladell Betts 27 2006 Redskins 84 419 4.99
14-16 Steven Jackson 23 2006 Rams 89 419 4.71
13-15 Reggie Bush 26 2011 Dolphins 61 419 6.87
5-7 Edgerrin James 22 2000 Colts 82 418 5.1
11-13 Deuce McAllister 24 2003 Saints 71 418 5.89
8-10 Chris Johnson 24 2009 Titans 80 418 5.23
10-12 Chris Johnson 24 2009 Titans 74 418 5.65
8-10 Jim Brown* 28 1964 Browns 65 417 6.42
8-10 Walter Payton* 31 1985 Bears 73 417 5.71
1-3 Greg Bell 27 1989 Rams 76 417 5.49
13-15 Jamal Anderson 26 1998 Falcons 87 417 4.79
7-9 Steven Jackson 28 2011 Rams 81 417 5.15
6-8 Leroy Kelly* 26 1968 Browns 76 416 5.47
12-14 Willie Parker 26 2006 Steelers 77 416 5.4
8-10 Adrian Peterson 23 2008 Vikings 74 416 5.62
12-14 Earl Campbell* 24 1979 Oilers 74 415 5.61
7-9 O.J. Simpson* 28 1975 Bills 57 414 7.26
11-13 Earl Campbell* 24 1979 Oilers 84 414 4.93
2-4 Terrell Davis 25 1998 Broncos 72 414 5.75
13-15 Warrick Dunn 25 2000 Buccaneers 72 414 5.75
5-7 Marshall Faulk* 29 2002 Rams 76 414 5.45
10-12 Priest Holmes 29 2002 Chiefs 70 414 5.91
13-15 Fred Taylor 27 2003 Jaguars 74 414 5.59
10-12 Edgerrin James 26 2004 Colts 64 414 6.47
7-9 Steven Jackson 26 2009 Rams 71 414 5.83
7-9 Leroy Kelly* 26 1968 Browns 63 413 6.56
3-5 Barry Sanders* 29 1997 Lions 65 413 6.35
6-8 Shaun Alexander 24 2001 Seahawks 71 413 5.82
8-10 Edgerrin James 26 2004 Colts 69 413 5.99
13-15 Earl Campbell* 24 1979 Oilers 88 412 4.68
3-5 Bobby Humphrey 23 1990 Broncos 79 412 5.22
14-16 Emmitt Smith* 24 1993 Cowboys 73 412 5.64
8-10 Terrell Davis 24 1997 Broncos 84 412 4.9
8-10 Frank Gore 23 2006 49ers 65 412 6.34
2-4 Jim Brown* 29 1965 Browns 73 411 5.63
14-16 Joe Morris 25 1985 Giants 82 411 5.01
7-9 Eric Dickerson* 26 1986 Rams 83 411 4.95
13-15 Rueben Mayes 23 1986 Saints 88 411 4.67
5-7 Anthony Thomas 23 2001 Bears 80 411 5.14
8-10 Michael Bennett 24 2002 Vikings 45 411 9.13
7-9 Adrian Peterson 22 2007 Vikings 61 411 6.74
5-7 Eric Dickerson* 26 1986 Rams 70 410 5.86
6-8 Emmitt Smith* 23 1992 Cowboys 83 410 4.94
14-16 Clinton Portis 21 2002 Broncos 57 410 7.19
3-5 Tiki Barber 29 2004 Giants 69 410 5.94
8-10 James Wilder 25 1983 Buccaneers 93 409 4.4
5-7 Walter Payton* 30 1984 Bears 80 409 5.11
8-10 Eric Dickerson* 27 1987 Colts 92 409 4.45
6-8 Gary Brown 28 1997 Chargers 76 409 5.38
5-7 Corey Dillon 25 2000 Bengals 52 409 7.87
3-5 Don Woods 23 1974 Chargers 56 408 7.29
7-9 Eric Dickerson* 28 1988 Colts 78 408 5.23
6-8 Barry Sanders* 26 1994 Lions 71 408 5.75
12-14 Curtis Martin* 22 1995 Patriots 89 408 4.58
3-5 Jerome Bettis 29 2001 Steelers 59 408 6.92
8-10 Warrick Dunn 28 2003 Falcons 58 408 7.03
4-6 Matt Forte 25 2011 Bears 64 408 6.38
6-8 Jim Brown* 27 1963 Browns 62 407 6.56
9-11 James Wilder 25 1983 Buccaneers 92 407 4.42
8-10 Freeman McNeil 26 1985 Jets 74 407 5.5
9-11 Eric Dickerson* 27 1987 Colts 84 407 4.85
6-8 Maurice Jones-Drew 24 2009 Jaguars 70 407 5.81
8-10 Bo Jackson 26 1989 Raiders 53 406 7.66
14-16 Olandis Gary 24 1999 Broncos 69 406 5.88
12-14 Priest Holmes 29 2002 Chiefs 58 406 7
1-3 Arian Foster 23 2010 Texans 69 406 5.88
12-14 Reggie Bush 26 2011 Dolphins 61 406 6.66
5-7 Eric Dickerson* 23 1983 Rams 81 405 5
2-4 Walter Payton* 30 1984 Bears 71 405 5.7
4-6 Shaun Alexander 24 2001 Seahawks 87 405 4.66
14-16 Emmitt Smith* 23 1992 Cowboys 69 404 5.86
1-3 Emmitt Smith* 25 1994 Cowboys 87 404 4.64
5-7 Marshall Faulk* 26 1999 Rams 50 404 8.08
10-12 Lydell Mitchell 26 1975 Colts 75 403 5.37
14-16 Gary W. Anderson 27 1988 Chargers 64 403 6.3
7-9 Curtis Martin* 26 1999 Jets 95 403 4.24
2-4 Mike Anderson 26 2000 Broncos 85 403 4.74
11-13 Jim Taylor* 26 1961 Packers 68 402 5.91
7-9 John Brockington 23 1971 Packers 69 402 5.83
11-13 Ottis Anderson 24 1981 Cardinals 81 402 4.96
5-7 Eric Dickerson* 24 1984 Rams 61 402 6.59
12-14 Gerald Riggs 25 1985 Falcons 81 402 4.96
5-7 Napoleon Kaufman 24 1997 Raiders 65 402 6.18
8-10 Shaun Alexander 24 2001 Seahawks 73 402 5.51
9-11 Rudi Johnson 24 2003 Bengals 82 402 4.9
11-13 Larry Johnson 26 2005 Chiefs 87 402 4.62
7-9 Larry Johnson 26 2006 Chiefs 84 402 4.79

* Designates member of Pro-Football Hall of Fame.  AFL players (5 instances) not included in above list.

Just based on the above two tables it should be evident that the odds are long that Peterson will be able to break Dickerson’s single season rushing record — odds of him hitting 2,000 yards are much better.

However, one thing we haven’t taken a look at is what teams Peterson faces to close out his season. Are they cream-puff matchups or stout run defenses?

In looking at Peterson’s final three opponents — the Rams, Texans and Packers — the odds just seem to look longer and longer.

In 38 combined games this season (Texans play their 13th game tonight), only five running backs have topped 100 rushing yards in a game against Peterson’s final three opponents. But Peterson doesn’t just want to top 100 yards — his eyes are on a much loftier goal.

Against his final three opponents, only twice has a running back topped the 133.33 yards/game Peterson needs to average to make it to 2,000 rushing yards, and only once has  a running back topped the 168.67 yards/game he will need to average to bring down Dickerson’s record.

Sure looks like that makes the odds of Peterson even getting to 2,000 rushing yards, let alone breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record even longer.

By the way, one of running backs that went for 133.33+ was Chris Johnson (141 rushing yards), and the other was Peterson who rushed for 210 yards against the Packers in week 13.

The fact that Peterson rushed for 210 yards against one of his upcoming opponents might make his odds seem a bit better, but in all honesty, it doesn’t make them all that much better. The odds are long, no matter how you cut them.

Just remember, the odds were long for Peterson to come back from a torn ACL and MCL and rush for 1,600 yards in just 13 games. Peterson is clearly one of the most remarkable athletes we have ever seen, and odds just don’t seem to pertain to him.

I doubted Peterson once.  I am not going to doubt him again, long odds or not.

Follow me on twitter,@SteveGalloNFL & if you have any questions please feel free to email me at gallo@thehuddle.com

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