HOUSTON — The Houston Texans can't help but be impressed by what Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is accomplishing this season.
On Sunday when they face the Vikings, the Texans want to make sure they aren't on the wrong end of history. Peterson enters the game against Houston just 188 yards shy of becoming the seventh 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history.
“This year he's definitely the best,” veteran Houston linebacker Bradie James said. “I played against Ricky Williams in his heyday when he would just run over everybody. I played against the Bus (Jerome Bettis), the Bus was great in short yardage. I played against Mike Alstott. I played against all these guys, and what Adrian Peterson is doing right now, I hadn't seen it before.”
“We don't want to be on the end of his record setting,” he continued. “We've got to do our job and really not get caught up in all that.”
The Texans (12-2) need a win to secure both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. To do that they'll have to slow Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher.
“It's going to be the biggest challenge we've had around here in a while,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said.
The Texans' defense led by star defensive end J.J. Watt is fifth in the NFL in yards rushing allowed a game with 93.2 — and Peterson is averaging 129.4. But he's been even more dominant of late, averaging 162.4 yards over the last eight games with two 200-yard performances.
“Peterson is a great running back,” Watt said. “He's playing as good as anyone in the league right now.”
When asked how to slow Peterson down, Watt had a simple answer.
“Tackle him,” he said with a chuckle. “We just need to play sound defense and execute our assignments and we'll be just fine.”