As we look at the top-50 single season rushing totals, anyone who anticipated Adrian Peterson would rush for over 2,000 yards in his comeback year would have been called crazy.
In his 16th game of the 2011 season, he felt three pops in his left knee. X-rays told the story of torn medial collateral ligaments along with torn anterior cruciate ligaments, but A.P. wouldn’t wait and during the holidays opted for surgery.
According to The National, Peterson was not exactly patient during recovery. The stitches were still evident in the spring when his Vikings teammates were stunned that he joined the receivers in sprints – and beat them.
“It’s mental … my willpower, my determination,” he said. “I grind hard. When you want to be great – and, in my mind, I want to be the greatest that ever played – you can’t talk about it. You have to go out and work.”
“I know it might sound crazy,” he recently told the New York Times, “but that was my mindset.”
Almost to the day, a year later, Peterson passed 2,000 and ended with 2,097. He needed 208 yards to break the 1984 record of Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 rushing yards and came up just short.
“An ACL injury at any position can be career-ending,” Frazier said, “so to see Adrian come back as a running back and play the way he’s playing – to be the best again – is just amazing to watch.”
RkPlayerTeamYardsYear1Eric DickersonLos Angeles Rams2,10519842Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings2,09720123Jamal LewisBaltimore Ravens2,06620034Barry SandersDetroit Lions2,05319975Terrell DavisDenver Broncos2,00819986Chris JohnsonTennessee Titans2,00620097O.J. SimpsonBuffalo Bills2,00319738Earl CampbellHouston Oilers1,9341980T9Ahman GreenGreen Bay Packers1,8832003 Barry SandersDetroit Lions1,883199411Shaun AlexanderSeattle Seahawks1,880200512Jim BrownCleveland Browns1,863196313Tiki BarberNew York Giants1,860200514Ricky WilliamsMiami Dolphins1,853200215Walter PaytonChicago Bears1,852197716Jamal AndersonAtlanta Falcons1,846199817Eric DickersonLos Angeles Rams1,821198618O.J. SimpsonBuffalo Bills1,817197519LaDainian TomlinsonSan Diego Chargers1,815200620Eric DickersonLos Angeles Rams1,808198321Larry JohnsonKansas City Chiefs1,789200622Emmitt SmithDallas Cowboys1,773199523Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings1,760200824Marcus AllenLos Angeles Raiders1,7591985T25Larry JohnsonKansas City Chiefs1,7502005 Terrell DavisDenver Broncos1,750199727Gerald RiggsAtlanta Falcons1,719198528Emmitt SmithDallas Cowboys1,713199229Edgerrin JamesIndianapolis Colts1,709200030Michael TurnerAtlanta Falcons1,6992008T31Curtis MartinNew York Jets1,6972004 Earl CampbellHouston Oilers1,697197933Shaun AlexanderSeattle Seahawks1,696200434Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ers1,695200635Barry FosterPittsburgh Steelers1,690199236Walter PaytonChicago Bears1,684198437LaDainian TomlinsonSan Diego Chargers1,683200238George RogersNew Orleans Saints1,674198139Jerome BettisPittsburgh Steelers1,665199740Tiki BarberNew York Giants1,662200641Eric DickersonIndianapolis Colts1,659198842Tony DorsettDallas Cowboys1,646198143LaDainian TomlinsonSan Diego Chargers1,645200344Deuce McAllisterNew Orleans Saints1,641200345Corey DillonNew England Patriots1,635200446Arian FosterHouton Texans1,616201047Priest HolmesKansas City Chiefs1,615200248Walter PaytonChicago Bears1,610197949Ottis AndersonSt. Louis Cardinals1,6051979
Stats Provided by NFL.com