EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson seemed to breathe a sigh of relief on Sunday evening after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson fell eight yards short of Dickerson’s single-season NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards.
Dickerson took to Twitter on Sunday evening, posting a picture of him with his young son with the message, “Daddy keeps the record!!!!! My son will break one day :).” Dickerson also added, “Just want to say that Adrian is a Great player & if my record had to fall. I would like it to go to a player like AP!..Good luck in the playoffs @AdrianPeterson.”
Peterson had his own message for Dickerson, who has held the record since 1984: “I’m coming for you.”
Peterson, who finished 2012 with 2,097 rushing yards, the second-highest single-season total in NFL history, offered that message via Peter King of SI.com late Sunday after becoming just the seventh player in league history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and missing Dickerson’s record by little more than an average carry.
Dickerson gets to hold on to his record for at least one more season, but Peterson stressed he’ll be gunning for Dickerson again next year.
“I know Eric Dickerson is probably feeling so good,” Peterson said after Sunday’s game in which he ran a career-high 34 times for 199 yards in helping Minnesota beat the Green Bay Packers, 37-34, to earn a playoff berth. “God-willing I’ll get it next year, or at least make it close.”
Experts scoffed when Peterson said he’d be better than ever this season after tearing his ACL and MCL last December, but he set an improbable goal and reached it.
“As you know, it doesn’t take much to get him going when he sets a goal,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “I wouldn’t put it past Adrian Peterson to shoot for that record next year and even attain it. He is one of those guys you never bet against. If that’s in his sights, it’s possible. Anything’s possible with Adrian.”
Peterson said the feeling was “bittersweet” after missing the record. He didn’t know until after the game how close he was, and he chose not to be updated during Sunday’s game. Peterson was more worried about Minnesota winning and reaching the postseason. Conversely, his team will be trying to find the needed yards on film.
“Yeah, if we can find those hidden yards, we would do it,” Frazier said. “They have different people who will be doing that, but we’ll be doing our own homework, as well. If we can find nine yards, we’re going to find them.”
Peterson admitted he will still think about the record but said the mark and possible coming awards such as league MVP won’t define him.
“I don’t do that; I go out and let it find me.” Peterson said. “Surprised if I win (MVP), or not? I can’t say I don’t want to, just like I wanted to break the record. Either way, in my heart, I’m the MVP, and that’s all that matters.