Despite having his bye week already, Adrian Peterson finds himself still ranked in the top 10 in most of the NFL’s rushing categories.
The Minnesota Vikings’ 30-year-old backfield workhorse is eighth in rushing yards at 372, fourth in rushing average at 5.0, tied for fifth with three rushing touchdowns, tied for fifth with four runs of 20 yards or more and tied for first with two runs of 40 yards or more despite being only tied for 10th with 75 carries.
But Peterson, even in his ninth NFL season, is staying strong until the end of games, even if he hasn’t been used much then. Only 23 percent of his 372 yards have come in the fourth quarter, but he’s used even less then. Of his 75 carries, only nine of them, or 12 percent, have come in the fourth quarter.
So what makes a good fourth-quarter running back in his estimation?
“Just having endurance. Being able to still be strong during the fourth quarter when it comes to running the ball,” he said. “And also mentally strong to finish off the game as well. Mentally strong and physically strong – to endure, endurance.”
Peterson is tied for fifth in the NFL with 10 runs that have been stuffed for lost yardage or no gain, but one stat shows that the man that was nicknamed “All Day” in his childhood can still run strong in the fourth quarter when given the opportunity. He is second in the league with a 9.4-yard average in the fourth quarter.
Analysts will sometimes say running backs are stronger in the fourth quarter, but the reality might be they just aren’t as worn down as the defense by that point in the game. Peterson said he truly feels stronger then.
“I feel stronger in the fourth quarter just what I put my body through during the offseason. When I’m pounding the first half and then in the third quarter, that fourth quarter I’m just as ramped up and ready to go,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys that they really don’t have that endurance to finish through. That’s when the work that you put in and the time that you invest shows.”