Going into last season, anybody that thought that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had a chance at rushing for 2,000 yards would have been called crazy. Now, apparently, it's crazy to think that he has a shot at doing it two years in a row. They may have a point. . .after all, of the six previous running backs to break the 2,000-yard mark in a season, none has even managed to top the 1,500-yard mark the following years. Barry Sanders came the closest, having followed up his 2,053-yard 1997 campaign with a 1,491-yard effort in 1998.
However, as we've said on numerous occasions in the past, none of those guys are Adrian Peterson, and none of them spent the first half of their 2,000-yard campaigns knocking off the rust from an injury the previous season. So what are the odds of him making it happen?
Well, a guy named Justin Henry took a look at Peterson's chances from the perspective of which opponents the Vikings face in 2013. You can take a look at all of his findings right here. According to Henry's figures, Peterson would need about 418 carries in order to break the 2,000-yard mark in 2013, which would be the heaviest workload of his career by far.
At this point, I'd like to point out that only five rushers in National Football League history have ever registered more than 400 rushing attempts in a season. Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs set the high-water mark in that category by toting the rock 416 times in 2006, and was absolutely not even close to the same running back after that happened. The other runners with 400+ attempts in a season are Jamal Anderson of the blank blanking 1998 Atlanta Falcons (410), James Wilder of the 1984 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (407), Eric Dickerson of the 1986 Los Angeles Rams (404), and Eddie George of the 2003 Tennessee Titans (403).
Honestly, I don't see Peterson breaking the NFL record for carries in a season, but that doesn't necessarily disqualify him from breaking 2,000 yards in 2013. In my opinion, the Vikings' offense will likely be much more balanced in 2013 than it was in 2012, and defenses won't be able to load up the defensive front quite as much against the NFL MVP. We'll still probably see Peterson slamming along with a very high average yards/carry, and if he doesn't get to 2,000 yards again in 2013, it will likely be because the passing game is picking up much more of the slack that it did in 2012. But, at this point, if people don't know better than to bet against him, they'll probably never learn.
What do you folks think of Adrian Peterson's prospects of reaching 2,000 yards in 2013?