While touchdown numbers are usually reserved for discussion by fantasy football players, Adrian Peterson may have won Offensive Rookie of the Year more on the timing of his scoring plays than his yardage total.
How significant can one player be to a team effort? An incredible amount, as Vikings fans learned this season watching Adrian Peterson
. Peterson, who was named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Wednesday, ran away with the honor. But a closer look at his scoring plays shows just how valuable he was to the Vikings and why league MVP may not be too far from his grasp in the coming years.
Consider the following:
Game 1 vs. the Falcons – Ahead just 10-3 with less than eight minutes to play, A.D. takes an innocent-looking swing pass and goes 60 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 17-3 lead that wouldn't be challenged.
Game 3 vs. the Chiefs – Peterson takes a play that appears bottled up and turns into an 11-yard touchdown run five minutes into the game. It would be the only touchdown the Vikings score.
Game 5 vs. the Bears – Peterson scores in the second quarter to tie the game 14-14 on a 67-yard run, then takes a 73-yarder to the house to give the Vikings their first lead at 21-14. With the game still in question at 24-17, Peterson rushes 35 yards for a TD with four minutes to play to seal the win.
Game 6 vs. the Cowboys – Peterson scores on a 20-yard run late in the first quarter. It will be the only offensive touchdown the Vikings score in a 24-14 loss.
Game 9 vs. San Diego – Trailing 7-0, the Vikings answer the Chargers' scoring drive with a 1-yard run by Peterson to tie the game. Trailing 14-7 at halftime, Peterson's 64-yard run ties the game and gives Vikings fans hope. With the Vikings leading 21-17, A.D. seals the deal with a 46-yard TD that gives the Vikings an 11-point lead and the eventual victory.
Week 12 vs. the Lions – With his return from surgery, the Vikings lead just 7-3 in the second quarter before Peterson scores on a 16-yard run. The 14-3 lead becomes 35-10 by halftime and Peterson caps off the blowout with a touchdown run five minutes into the third quarter to give the Vikings 42 points on the day.
Week 14 vs. Chicago – Trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Vikings score two touchdowns in the second half, both on Peterson runs, to win 20-13.
While touchdowns don't tell the whole story of a player's value or worth, Peterson's TD scores were a blueprint of what worked for the Vikings in 2007 and why many envision them as playoff contenders for 2008.