Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you for having the good sense to pass on Adrian Peterson in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Vikings Fans Everywhere
Seriously, we can pretty much end the Offensive Rookie of the Year race right now. At this point, we need to start looking at the possibility of Adrian Peterson winning the Offensive Player of the Year Award, and possibly even getting his name involved in the MVP race. I had a post a couple of days ago entitled "Adrian Peterson is better than your team's running back." It appears I severely understated the obvious. It should have been entitled "Adrian Peterson is much, much, MUCH better than your team's running back, and it doesn't matter what team you cheer for, because it doesn't change things."
Of course, that would have been obnoxiously long, so it's probably best that I didn't go with that.
But in all honesty, Adrian Peterson IS currently the best back in the National Football League. Better than Tomlinson. Better than Alexander. Better than Johnson. Better than Jackson. Better than Gore. But if you've paid even a little bit of attention to the NFL over the first 8 games of the season, you know this already.
The scope of what Adrian Peterson is doing really can't be overstated. Through his first 8 games, he has rushed for 1,036 yards, had two games of over 200 yards rushing, and has already scored 10 touchdowns (9 rushing, 1 receiving). He's done this despite
-Sharing carries with Chester Taylor. . .who, at last check, is a pretty damn fine back in his own right.
-Being a rookie.
-Being part of an offense that has absolutely zero credibility when it comes to throwing the football.
That last one is what makes it so great. I know the ball is going to Peterson. YOU know the ball is going to Peterson. The opposing defense knows the ball is going to Peterson. The opposing coaching staff knows the ball is going to Peterson. All the fans in the stands know the ball is going to Adrian Peterson. My two puppy dogs here at home know the ball is going to Adrian Peterson. If there's life out there on other planets, they know the ball is going to Adrian Peterson. I'd be willing to bet that when a pass play comes into the huddle, Brooks Bollinger or Tarvaris Jackson or Kelly Holcomb stops and asks themselves, "Damn. . .why aren't we handing the ball to Adrian Peterson?"
And there still isn't a darn thing that anybody can do about it. Play 8 guys in the box. Play 9 guys in the box. Shoot, play all 11 of your defenders in the box. You can't stop Adrian Peterson. You can't even hope to contain Adrian Peterson. You'd better just hope he slips and falls down.
Though 8 games, the kid is on pace. . .on pace, mind you. . .to rush for 2,072 yards, which would be just short of the single-season record of 2,105 held by Eric Dickerson. But even the '84 Rams got semi-competent quarterback play from Jeff Kemp. Minnesota's quarterbacks this year have been, to put it mildly, atrocious. Seriously, when you look at Brooks Bollinger and say, "You know, he's actually been pretty impressive," it's time to reassess your standing at the quarterback position.
Today, thanks to Adrian Peterson, we saw what the Vikings' offense COULD be. Bollinger's TD pass to Sidney Rice (sponsored by The Daily Norseman) was a thing of beauty, and showed us the kind of potential that Rice has. The play-action passing game was a thing of beauty. Why? Because Adrian Peterson put the fear of God into a fast and talented San Diego Chargers' defense. Seriously, on Peterson's 25-yard run in the first quarter (that set up his first TD run), he blew past Shawne Merriman, and Merriman looked around like he didn't have any idea what on Earth happened.
A LOT of defenses are going to look like that, thanks to the man we call Purple Jesus. Not just this year, not just next year, but for a very, very long time to come.
296. Congratulations, Adrian Peterson. If the world didn't know how great you were before, they certainly do right now.