EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The record many thought would never be broken is right there in front of him, and Adrian Peterson can smell it.
His powerful legs have been chewing up the yards at a staggering pace over these last two months, chasing down Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing mark with the relentlessness that helped him come back from a devastating knee injury in less than nine months.
As Peterson continues that pursuit, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is comfortable in knowing that while the record is important to his star running back, making the playoffs trumps everything. Actually, the two may go hand in hand.
Heading into the final two games of the season, Peterson is 294 yards away from eclipsing Dickerson’s record 2,105 yards set in 1984 and the Vikings (8-6) almost surely need wins over Houston and Green Bay to get into the playoffs.
With all that in mind, Frazier had a chat with Peterson on Monday just to make sure that the focus remains where it needs to be.
“The record would be great,” Frazier said the day after the Vikings won in St. Louis to stay alive in the playoff race. “But the most important thing is to get a win in Houston. And the fact that he feels that way, that will permeate through the rest of our team. He wants to really concentrate on winning this game, more so than the record.”
Peterson was unavailable for comment on Monday after racking up 212 yards and a touchdown in the 36-24 victory over the Rams, but he said after the game that he knows how to prioritize the two pursuits.
“It’s something that I’m not focusing on, it’s in the back of my mind, but I want to accomplish that,” Peterson said of the record. “I want to let the chips fall where they may. I look at today’s game, I could have had 300 (yards), but it wasn’t meant to happen. We got the ‘W,’ we got closer. Let’s move on.”