The 2013 NFL season was, for the most part, one to forget for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. It started off badly, with the team going 1-7 in the first half of the year, and a 4-3-1 second half wasn't enough to save the job of head coach Leslie Frazier. Now, the team looks for the ninth head coach in its history, and though we don't know who that will be yet, the new guy will have a couple of outstanding offensive pieces to build around.
Running back Adrian Peterson had a "down year" by his standards. His 1,223 yards rushing were the second-lowest total in his seven year career, but he still managed to set a few marks to build on for 2014.
As we know, Peterson became the 28th running back in the history of the National Football League to surpass the 10,000-yard rushing mark for his career. He set that mark against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome on 1 December in Minnesota's 23-20 overtime victory. In that game, he also put up 211 yards rushing by the time it was all said and done. That was the fifth 200-yard game of his career, tying him with Tiki Barber for the second-most in NFL history. Only that one guy from the Naked Gun movies. . .not Leslie Nielsen, the guy that played Nordberg. . .had more, as he did it six times in his NFL career.
Also, Peterson became just the third player to rush for at least ten touchdowns in seven different seasons, as he has reached that number in every season of his career thus far. Only Emmitt Smith and LaDanian Tomlinson have had double-digit rushing touchdowns in more seasons. Tomlinson did it nine times, while Smith did it eight times.
As great as Peterson is, perhaps the first question that should be asked of potential Vikings head coaches is "how do you intend to use Cordarrelle Patterson?" And the answer to that question should be "a lot." After getting just eleven offensive snaps in the first two games of the season combined, Patterson was a real force for the Minnesota offense, and especially on special teams.
Thanks to his performance against the Detroit Lions in the season finale, Patterson became the first player in National Football League history to have at least four receiving touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and two return touchdowns in the same season. He was also the first player in league history to have a kickoff return touchdown of at least 100 yards (he had one of 109 and one of 105), a receiving touchdown of at least 75 yards (his 79-yard catch-and-run against the Baltimore Ravens), and a rushing touchdown of at least 50 yards (his 50-yard run against the Lions) in the same season.
The Minnesota Vikings' offense has some talent on it, folks. If they can get the quarterback position figured out, with guys like Peterson and Patterson in the mix, not to mention guys like Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright, and Kyle Rudolph, they could be putting up a lot of points for many years to come.