It’s all right there for Adrian Peterson now.
One more game in his remarkable comeback season, and the only thing that remains on the line is everything.
A win against the rival Green Bay Packers on Sunday would put his Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season. The milestones of 2,000 yards and Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record are there to be had as well, along with a potential MVP award that would cement his standing among the league’s great players.
“It’s such a big game when you look at everything that can be accomplished,” Peterson said Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to it, man. Most importantly, getting into the playoffs, securing that with a win against Green Bay. Having an opportunity to hit 2,000, having an opportunity to break Eric Dickerson’s record in the same game, it would be great to accomplish.”
Perhaps the only thing more improbable than the Vikings (9-6) sitting one victory away from a playoff berth is that they have been carried there by Peterson, who tore two ligaments in his left knee just over a year ago. He has already racked up a career-high 1,898 yards rushing this season, leaving him 102 away from becoming the first player to hit 2,000 yards on a reconstructed knee.
His inspiring recovery has galvanized a team that has been teetering on the edge of elimination the last four weeks and has put some of the biggest names to play the position in his corner as he runs toward history. Dickerson is on record as saying he hopes Peterson falls a little shy of his 2,105 yards rushing in 1984, but everyone from Jim Brown to Terrell Davis to Chris Johnson — the last running back to rush for 2,000 yards — have come out in support of his pursuit.
Peterson needs 208 yards on Sunday to break Dickerson’s record, a number that would be considered close to impossible for most running backs in this pass-happy league. But Peterson has topped that twice in the previous four games. He’s also rushed for more yards against the Packers than any other team, including 210 yards at Lambeau Field on Dec. 2.
LB Ray Lewis has been added to the Ravens’ (10-5) 53-man roster, but coach John Harbaugh says the 17-year veteran will not play Sunday against the Bengals (9-6). Lewis has missed nine straight games. … The Cardinals (5-10) will give QB Brian Hoyer his first NFL start against the 49ers (10-4-1), less than three weeks after the team claimed him off waivers from Pittsburgh. … A grand jury in Texas has formally indicted Cowboys NT Josh Brent on one count of intoxication manslaughter. Brent is charged in connection with a Dec. 8 crash that killed his friend and Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown. … Bills DE Mario Williams has donated one of his pickup trucks to make the holidays happier for two Marine Corps veterans. Williams had his 2009 Ford F-250 delivered to Sgt. Justin Hunter and his wife Staff Sgt. Cherie Hunter of Jacksonville, N.C., last weekend. Cherie Hunter’s vehicle recently broke down while making her regular 140-mile drive to attend culinary classes. … The Browns (5-10) are down to third-string QB Thad Lewis. Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy missed practice Wednesday due to right shoulder injuries. There’s a chance Weeden or McCoy might play. … The Eagles (4-11) have placed QB Nick Foles on IR and signed DT Antonio Dixon to a two-year contract. Michael Vick will start against the Giants (8-7).