“Nine yards what…from breaking it?” A visibly exhausted Adrian Peterson muttered those words to Fox’s Pam Oliver just minutes after the Vikings came away with the win over the Green Bay Packers, solidifying the 6th seed in the playoffs. With 0:12 seconds left on the clock, game tied at 34, Peterson was only nine yards away from beating Eric Dickerson’s 29-year-old rushing record, and Minnesota was at the Packers 10-yard-line. The decision had to have crossed Head Coach Leslie Frazier’s mind, for at least a split second: calling time-out to give AP one more chance for the rushing title AND win the game on a touchdown run. Instead, they took the safe bet on the leg of pro bowler Blair Walsh, and ultimately succeeded.
That certainly could have been a storybook ending, Peterson breaking the record on a game-winning touchdown run against their bitter rivals for a playoff spot. However a 200-yard rushing game against a stingy Green Bay defense, and becoming part of the 2,000-yard club, all occurring one year after a devastating knee surgery is a pretty nice way to end the remarkable season. With all of those implications on the line, writer Chuck Klosterman said it best when he tweeted “that non-record is better than the record.”
It’s possible that Peterson thought he broke it, and Pam Oliver broke the bad news to him live on the air. Either way, the dude has much to be proud of. He’ll most certainly get the 2012 MVP award, his team is going to the playoffs mainly because of his two legs, and he pretty much solidified the #1 2013 fantasy draft pick. As for Eric Dickerson, he can sit on this record for yet another year, but not for much longer. Considering there have now been three running backs who rushed for 2,000 yards within the past nine years, that rushing title won’t last forever. Like the old saying goes, records are meant to, and will be, broken (It’s only a matter of time, ‘72 Dolphins).