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Vikings' Peterson is prolific in crunching numbers

Besides being the best running back on the planet, Adrian Peterson is a math whiz: he's comfortable with large numbers and can add them as quickly as he accumulates them on the football field.

Rick Lubbers
Contact News Tribune sports editor Rick Lubbers at rlubbers@duluthnews.com or (218) 723-5317.

Besides being the best running back on the planet, Adrian Peterson is a math whiz: he's comfortable with large numbers and can add them as quickly as he accumulates them on the football field.

After falling about a first down short of breaking Eric Dickerson's season rushing record of 2,105 yards set in 1984, the Minnesota Vikings superstar said he's capable of rushing for 2,500 yards.

Now Peterson's latest math equation has him breaking the all-time rushing mark -- 18,355 yards by Emmitt Smith -- in short order.

When prodded by Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, AP quickly crunched the numbers inside his head:

"I have to do some calculations," he said. "I'm already right around (9,000). Calculate it out ... Let's think. Maybe get a couple 2,000-yard seasons ... I've got ... Hmmm ... 2017."

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Put down that abacus, I've already done the math for you:

  • Peterson has racked up 8,849 yards in six seasons.
  • Emmitt Smith tallied 18,355 in 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and two with the Arizona Cardinals.
  • That means AP is 9,507 yards shy of breaking the record and he needs to average 1,901.4 yards a season (quite a bump from his average season of 1,474.8 yards) and 118.8 per game (he's at 99.4 right now) to achieve his lofty prediction. And that's assuming he stays healthy in an occupation slightly less hazardous than a Roman gladiator. Ridiculous numbers?

    OK, let's do some more calculating:

    Hmm ... let's see. 2017 is only five seasons away ... that's 16 games each for a total of 80 in that span. But 30 of those contests will come against the Vikings' NFC North Division rivals: the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers -- all defenses he skewered repeatedly last season.

    Ten games against the Lions alone?

    Heck, he might break old Emmitt's record in 2015!

    Even Peterson had to catch his breath after his computations. But he did predict the week he'll set the record.

    "Man. I better go late. I'm already getting too far in front of myself," he said. "I'll say Week 16. There it is. Week 16 in 2017. Whoo. That's pushing it, huh? But hey, pushing it is the only way to do it. You know it."

    Peterson more than pushed it in 2012 after recovering from a major knee injury. Most fans would have laughed off even the hint of him nearing 2K. But his amazing season proved two things: One, he should have been cast as Superman in "Man of Steel" instead of Henry Cavill, and, two, no one will ever doubt AP again after his miraculous recovery and monstrous campaign.

    Still, even Superman has kryptonite, and Father Time will be pulling Peterson into his 30s in a couple of years. Offensive philosophies change and the NFL is now a pass-happy league where most teams are content to use multiple backs to carry the ball. AP is old school in that regard, a throwback to the blissful days of Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Dickerson.

    Maybe a safer bet is 2019. Peterson will be 34 years old by that time, but he'll only have to average 84.9 yards per game and 1,358.1 per season between now and then to break the mark.

    That's two seasons past Peterson's prediction, but it's a math equation more likely to add up.

    Contact News Tribune sports editor Rick Lubbers at rlubbers@duluthnews.com or (218) 723-5317. Follow him @ricklubbersdnt on Twitter .

  • Related Topics: FOOTBALL
    Rick Lubbers has been in his role since 2014 and at the News Tribune since 2005. Previous stops include the Superior Telegram (1999-2005) and Budgeteer News (1997-1999). Prior to that, he worked at the St. Cloud Times and Annandale Advocate in Minnesota, and the Greenville Daily News and Grand Rapids Press in Michigan. He received his journalism degree at Central Michigan University.
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