Meeting Peterson Again

2015 Adrian PetersonThere’s been a lot of talk recently about the impact Adrian Peterson’s return will make in the NFC North. And, there’s good reason to discuss that. Peterson ran for over 2,000 yards after coming off a knee injury. He’s a great player and has always been a thorn in the side of the Packers’ defense.

Most people agree that, with the return of Peterson, the Vikings become the Packers most dangerous divisional opponent. While I would not disagree with that, I think there’s a big difference between being the Packers most dangerous opponent and being a real threat to unseat the Packers as divisional champs.

Now, before you judge me too harshly for taking the road less traveled, continue reading.

First of all, I want to be very clear about one thing. There’s no doubt that the Vikings will be a much improved team with Peterson back. That said, I don’t think they’ll be improved enough to threaten the Packers’ position in the division. Here’s why I think the Vikings will be improved but not as big a threat to the Packers as most believe.

The Vikings’ offense, understandably, stumbled when they lost Peterson. With AP on the field in 2013, the Vikings ranked #13 in total offense and #8 in the run game. Without Peterson on the field in 2014, they ranked #14 in the run and #27 in total offense. I would expect the Vikings’ offensive numbers to bounce back close to their 2013 stats.


Average RB Career Length
Click image for larger view.

Peterson has been out of football for a whole year now. Not only that, but he’s entering his ninth season of football playing a position that takes a huge amount of beating. He’s already exceeded the average career length of most and is about two years away from the average retirement age of the high end of the career length spectrum. Peterson will return and will improve a struggling Vikings offense, but I’ll be surprised if he’s the same Adrian Peterson. He’s definitely on the downhill side of his career, so I would expect he’ll contribute 1200 to maybe 1500 yards this season. I’ll be utterly shocked if he can find a way to put up another 2000 yard season.

In 2013, Peterson posted 1266 yards. He missed two games that season but even if we tack on the yards per game average for season, he still would have only had 1446 yards had he played the whole season. That was good enough yardage to lose to the Packers once and tie the Packers in the final meeting of the two teams when they were without Aaron Rodgers.

Do I believe the Vikings are a better team with Adrian Peterson? Absolutely. Do I think he’ll top 1200 yards this season? I do. Do I think that’s enough for the Vikings to unseat the Packers as division champs? I do not.

Meeting Peterson Again

2 thoughts on “Meeting Peterson Again

  • June 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I’d agree with most of that. I doubt that the Vikings can unseat GB as division champs, but I believe they make the playoffs. I think they are the team most likely to compete with GB for the division title.

    But I think you’re selling the Vikings a little short too. Without AP, the Vikings were playing very well at the end of last year. GB won a 24-21 nail biter at MN in November of 2014. AP might have been enough to change that final score in MN’s favor. AP put up his 2000 yard season the year following his ACL surgery, which surprised everyone. He didn’t play for basically 2 of his years in the league, so he’s really a 7 year RB, more than a 9 year RB. Coming off another year to heal , I wouldn’t be shocked if he puts up huge numbers again. One thing I’ve learned is to never count out AP as a huge impact upon any and every game.

    • June 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      All very valid points David. I would suggest that AP had more mental motivation to come back from the injury than he does this time around. I don’t really think he’s as thrilled to be back with the Vikings as he lets on in the press conferences.

      Of course, the bottom line is, we just need to be so outstanding that nobody can stop us. Right? :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *