The Vikings may be bad, but Adrian Peterson is as good as ever


The NFC North looked to be one of the most well-rounded divisions in the league coming into the 2013 season.

The Packers and Vikings had made the playoffs the previous year, Chicago only missed on the postseason on the wrong end of a tiebreak, and Detroit, despite winning just four games the previous year, added Reggie Bush and looked to be as talented as ever.

Things were looking up. Then cold, dark reality struck the division.

The Packers looked to be streaking at 5-2, but lost starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and have subsequently gone winless in their last five games.

Chicago lost Jay Cutler multiple times to injuries, and are still without their starting QB, while their defense has been destroyed week in and week out, ranking in the bottom five of football in points allowed.

Detroit sits on top of the division despite losing back-to-back games to brutal Pittsburgh and worse Tampa Bay, and in the end seem too streaky to be taken seriously.

The Vikings, well, you know. Their defense is bad, their quarterback(s) are too, and a 2012 playoff season seems buried in the rear-view mirror behind sub-par play.

The bottom line in the NFC North is, while every team has its major flaws, the Vikings are the worst team in it, statistically and in reality.

The one man you can't assign blame is Adrian Peterson.

While the offensive line in front of him has been up and down, and Peterson hasn't had the production level he did last year, just stop and look at what he's done.

In what could be the quietest league-leading performance in the history of football, AP is once again scampering away with the NFL rushing title.

All Day has 1,208 yards, 120 more than his closest competition, Philadelphia's Lesean McCoy, and is the only qualified running back that is averaging over 100 yards per game, 10 more per contest than McCoy.

The critics will stop and say, "yards are great, but they're not translating to points and wins."

Well, we don't think leading the league in rushing touchdowns can be scoffed at, and Peterson is doing that with 10. He's scoring his points.

True, Peterson isn't producing at the level he did last year, but fans and critics alike shouldn't have to be reminded that AP had one of the greatest seasons in the history of football last year.

6.0 yards per carry, 2,100 yards, and 130 yards per game, those stats are other-worldly.

He led the league in the latter two categories last year, and is doing the same this year, while 2013's stats are on-par with his season averages.

His offensive line, while having an unbelievable season in 2012, has been repulsive at times in 2013, unable to protect quarterbacks and giving up plenty of negative Peterson runs, which happened very few times last year.

And by the way, he's going to have a better season than any of the other six running backs coming off a 2,000-yard year. The man atop that list is Barry Sanders, who put up 1,491 yards after his 2,053-yard performance in 1997. Peterson is just 283 yards away from reaching that, and knowing AP, he could do that in a game.

Perhaps Peterson is reaching the true mark of greatness, when being the best at what you do isn't enough because you've been even better than that.

This year, Peterson has been the best again, while receiving little acclaim or recognition partially because of poor team performance.

But when assessing why the team has fallen short, don't look to Peterson, he has kept up his end of the bargain as the best player in the division, despite his team being the worst in it.

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