“He's a phenomenal player and seems like a good dude,” Dickerson told CBSsports.com last week. “If a player was to break it, I'd probably want it to be Adrian, but I like having the record. I don't think it's going to be broken.”
The Vikings are a throwback to the days when running backs ruled. They rely on Peterson as their first, second and third option to move the ball down the field, and he has delivered even with opposing defenses crowding the line of scrimmage in an all-out effort to stop him.
He's topped 200 yards twice in the last three weeks, is averaging more than 164 yards per game over the last eight and is averaging more yards per carry (6.3) than Christian Ponder is per pass attempt (5.95).
“Nobody probably has ever done it better than he's doing it in this stretch,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said.
Even when an opposing defense appears to have him bottled up, Peterson has found a way to break out. He had minus-3 yards on his first five carries against the Rams, but ripped off an 82-yard touchdown run and a 52-yard burst in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice.
Through it all, he's turned what had been a career-derailing injury for a running back — a torn ACL in his left knee suffered last December — into nothing more than a speed bump.
“It's mental. My mindset, my willpower, my determination,” Peterson said. “And that's something people don't see, is how hard I work during the offseason. I grind hard. When you want to be great — and in my mind, I want to be the greatest that ever played — you can't talk about it, you have to go out and work.”
He's carried this offense on his broad shoulders all season long, and his teammates are hoping to return the favor by helping him get the record.
“We obviously want him to get it, and he's chugging along,” Ponder said. “He's getting yards and I don't think it's something we're thinking about and trying to take advantage of. We do want to make the playoffs and that's our number one goal and (to) keep winning. The way he's playing, we hope he gets it. He's getting close.”