Adrian Peterson: The Final Straw?

Adrian Peterson: The Final Straw?

Adrian Peterson has been carrying the Minnesota Vikings offense on his back for almost a decade, and the final straw could be coming soon. New Vikings Barroom writer Tyler Haag explains.

In certain parts of the world camels are used for transportation and hauling goods. They haul people, water, food and genies voiced by Robin Williams, among other things. They are an integral part of the survival of the communities they assist. Without them, the general public would surely fall on hard times.

The problem with using camels as we use 18-wheelers is that at a certain point the camel can’t hold any more weight and (hence the saying) the back gives way.

Adrian Peterson has been carrying the Vikings offense on his back for a very long time and aside from a little relief in the form of a young Percy Harvin and a certain Hall of Fame quarterback in the 2009 season, the case can be made for Peterson being the only real threat the Vikings have boasted on the offensive side of the ball since he arrived Minnesota. Needless to say, his metaphorical back is probably pretty sore. Really sore.

According to pro-football-reference.com, Peterson has accumulated more rushing attempts than anyone in the NFL since he entered the league in 2007. Since 2010, there are only three other running backs with more rushing attempts than All Day’s 1,466: Frank Gore (1,534), LeSean McCoy (1,509) and Chris Johnson (1,484). That obviously includes the 2014 season in which Peterson played just one game due to an off-field scandal that resulted in a season-long suspension. As far as attempts per game are measured since 2010, the 2015 rushing champ easily exceeds those four runners:

  1. Peterson: 19.81
  2. McCoy: 17.54
  3. Gore: 16.857
  4. Johnson: 16.307

Even last year with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater playing as well as anyone not named Favre has in Purple and Gold during Peterson’s career, he still carried the ball a league-leading 327 times. The next closest was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Doug Martin at 288.

So here we are (again), the Vikings have a large question mark under center (again) and the game plan for the offense this year — at least for the first several games, until newly-acquired quarterback Sam Bradford gets up to speed — is to give an unhealthy amount of carries to a 31-year-old running back with a surgically repaired left knee (again). Obviously, it’s been made clear that the three-time rushing champion is an exception to most unwritten rules about running backs.

This man came back from a torn ACL and MCL faster than it takes women to grow and deliver a human baby and proceeded to finish eight yards short of the greatest rushing season of all-time. Additionally, he won the rushing title at 30 years old, a feat only accomplished by two others since 1932. He once gained 1,322 yards in an absurd eight-game span. Peterson owns the NFL record for yards in a single game (296) and has the most career touchdowns of 60+ yards (13).

Clearly, Adrian Peterson isn’t like other running backs. But, Father Time is undefeated. Every professional athlete eventually gets to that point where he or she can no longer compete in the same way. Peterson has already defied the odds over and over. When will the odds win?

Without No. 28, the Vikings would surely fall on hard times. Let’s hope, for the sake of Minnesota’s playoff aspirations in 2016, a few more straws can be added to the camel’s back before it breaks.

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