ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) -- If the Rams want any chance of beating the Vikings this Sunday, it will come down to stopping Adrian Peterson. A quick look at his numbers this season will put it into perspective.
Peterson has been on a mission this season en route to leading the league with 1,600 rushing yards, 334 yards more than the second best in the league. He is the only running back in the league to average over 100 yards per game this season; his average is 123.1 yards per game. He has 18 rushes of 20 yards or more which is seven more than the next best. In addition, he leads the league with six rushes of 40 or more yards.
“It’s a huge challenge,” Jeff Fisher said. “We talked about the 49ers being second in rushing, in rushing average and then (Sunday) playing Buffalo, being third and now we’re playing the team that’s first. (Peterson) is a different type of back. He was possessed (Sunday) against the Bears.”
Peterson rushed for 154 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns in a 21-14 victory against the division-rival Bears last week. The week prior: 210 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown in a 23-14 loss to the Packers.
The Rams now have the chance to break Peterson’s streak of seven consecutive games of 100-plus yards this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome -- a task easier said than done. He has the raw talent that will make every player on the field and every fan in the stands notice him.
“He’s a one-of-a-kind back. He’s powerful, he’s quick, fast,” Robert Quinn said. “We definitely got a handful this week, but I think we can slow him down if we dominate our front end of the ‘D’ line -- our front seven. If we slow him down, it will be a pretty good day for us.”
It will be only the second time the Rams will have faced Peterson, who rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts in a 38-10 victory in 2009.
Peterson was limited in practice on Wednesday with an abdomen injury. If he rushes like he can in the Madden video game then it might be a long day for the Rams.
“We’re not playing Madden,” Quinn joked. “You’ve got to give credit to him. He’s having an excellent year.”
The most impressive part about Peterson is what he had to overcome to get to this point. On Christmas Eve last year, Peterson tore his ACL in a game against the Washington Redskins and did not play in the preseason as he continued his rehabilitation. It’s a return that his coach calls an “amazing story.”
“Ordinarily, with that injury, it’s going to take a while and even if you come back that next season, you’re probably not going to be the player that you were the year before the injury,” Leslie Frazier said. “But, Adrian has been amazing from the time he started the game against Jacksonville and throughout the season.
“He’s just gotten better and better and I don’t think there’s anybody who thought, going into the season, that we’d be talking about Adrian with 1,600 yards, leading the league in rushing, MVP candidate, Comeback Player of the Year candidate. It’s just mind-boggling in a lot of ways. A lot of credit to Adrian -- his hard work, his determination.”
There is a secret to Peterson’s quick and successful recovery from the injury.
“A lot of prayer. I prayed a lot. That was definitely key,” Peterson said on a conference call with local St. Louis media. “I really didn’t beat myself up about it. I was able just to accept it for what it was, make my game plan and then go after it. In the midst of that recovery, there were times where I struggled, but I was able just to get my mind right mentally.”
Peterson joined Jim Brown and O.J. Simpson as the only three players in NFL history to rush for 1,600-plus yards, have a six-plus yards per carry average and score ten or more touchdowns in the team’s first 13 games.