We all know the story; when Peterson started in week 1, his status was questionable. He rushed for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns, his first game in 8 months after his ACL and MCL tear. He passed Robert Smith to become the number one Vikings rusher of all time. By Week 16, Peterson was leading the NFL in rushing with 1,898 yards and averaging 6.0 yards a carry. He also had 11 touchdowns, with a further 215 yards receiving. WHAT. Great season, Mr. Peterson.
And things got even better. Entering Week 17, he needed 208 yards to break the NFL single-season record for the most rushing yards (2,105), set in 1984 by Eric Dickerson. That week, the Vikings played the Green Bay Packers needing a win to clinch a playoff berth. The game was tied at 34 in the fourth quarter when Peterson ran 26 yards, setting the Vikings up for a game-winning field goal with three seconds left. The Vikings chose the field goal, which sent them to the playoffs, but also left Peterson nine yards short of breaking the record. He ran for 199 yards in the game, falling just one yard short of becoming the first player ever to record three 200-yard games in the same calendar month. Peterson's 172.2 rushing yards per game in December is the highest calendar-month average in NFL history.
Peterson became the second player (Earl Campbell, 1980) to rush for 150 or more yards in seven games during an NFL season and had 1,019 yards after contact. He finished 2012 with 2,097 rushing yards, the second-most ever for a running back in a single season.
In recovering from his knee injury of 12 months earlier to record the second-most rushing yards in a season, Peterson has made himself one of the top candidates for not just the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, but also the overall league MVP award.
We commend you, Adrian Peterson! You have made the Minnesota Vikings a much more tolerable team to watch.