Adrian Peterson pushed all the individual accolades aside this week and said winning and getting into the playoffs are the most important things. However, there are significant milestones just waiting for him at the conclusion of today's games.
The Vikings find themselves on the verge of some substantial history today when they close out the regular season against the New York Giants
. Adrian Peterson
is making a bid for being the league's Most Valuable Player and nothing can add steam to his bid more than a strong game with a division title on the line.
Barring something unforeseen, Peterson will become the first Viking in franchise history to lead the NFL in rushing. He enters today's game with 1,657 rushing yards – 166 yards ahead of Atlanta's Michael Turner
and 250 yards ahead of third-place holder Clinton Portis
. Unless Turner can post a record-setting type of rushing day, Peterson will be the rushing champion for 2008. But putting his place in the record books doesn't end there.
Peterson could also become the first Viking to ever lead the league in total yards from scrimmage. Through 15 games, A.D. has 1,782 total yards (1,657 rushing, 125 receiving). He is 142 yards ahead of Chicago's Matt Forte
(1,640 yards) and 157 yards ahead of Portis (1,625). Again, barring a monstrous day from one of those two players, Peterson could again be the first Viking player to lead the league in this category.
With just two yards rushing, Peterson will become just the fifth player in NFL history to run for more than 3,000 yards in his first two seasons. With 102 yards rushing, he will move into fourth place on the all-time list.
If he rushes for 100 yards, he will be alone in fifth place on the all-time list for most 100-yard games in his first two seasons. He is currently tied with Ottis Anderson at 15 and would trail only Eric Dickerson (21), Edgerrin James
(19), Earl Campbell (18) and Portis (18) on that list.
While winning today's game is the critical factor for the team, along the way Peterson may be setting some significant milestones that will forever place him in the NFL record books.
VIKINGS-GIANTS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings have the 17th-rated offense (third rushing, 27th passing) and the seventh-ranked defense (first rushing, 18th passing). The Giants have the seventh-rated offense (first rushing, 18th passing) and the seventh-ranked defense (ninth rushing, seventh passing).
Only three teams are ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense and all are from the NFC East – the Giants, the Cowboys (ninth offense, eighth defense) and the Eagles (eighth offense, third defense).
Not only do the Giants lead the league in rushing, they also lead in average per attempt. The Vikings are third in rushing, but seventh in average per carry.
The Vikings have been outscored 108-61 in the third quarter of games this year. In the other three quarters, they have outscored opponents 298-206.
The Giants have outscored their opponents 69-38 in the third quarter of games this year, but their dominance has been throughout. They have outscored opponents 220-150 in the first half and 188-124 in the second half and overtime.
With a touchdown today, Visanthe Shiancoe will tie the all-time franchise record for touchdowns by a tight end in a season with eight. The record is currently held by Joe Senser, who scored eight TDs in 1981.
Shiancoe's seven touchdowns trail only Tony Gonzalez (nine) and Antonio Gates (eight) among NFL tight ends this season.
If Bernard Berrian can gain 117 yards receiving today, he will become the first Viking since 2002 to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
Since returning to the starting lineup against Detroit, Tarvaris Jackson has a passer rating of 126.5. In that span, the only QB with a higher passer rating is Peyton Manning at 128.1.
Darren Sharper has scored a touchdown in each of the last two games he has played against the Giants.
This will be the ninth time in the last 10 years that the Vikings have played the Giants. The only season in the last decade they didn't meet in the regular season or the playoffs was 2006.
Both the Vikings and Giants sent six players to the Pro Bowl. The only team with more was the Jets (seven).
The Giants have scored 402 points this season – second only to New Orleans. At the same time, they have allowed just 274 points, which trails only Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Ryan Longwell needs just four points today to pass former Viking Fred Cox into 22nd place on the all-time scoring list. Longwell currently has 1,362 points – three behind Cox.
Jared Allen's 14.5 sacks are the most by a Viking since John Randle had 15.5 sacks in 1997.
The Vikings lead the league in touchdowns of 20-plus yards with 16, one more than Dallas and New Orleans.
As a team, the Giants lead the league with 24 rushes of 20 yards or more. The Vikings and Panthers are tied for second with 22.
The Vikings defense has allowed just 19 runs of 20 yards or more – best in the NFL and five fewer than second-place Pittsburgh.
Peterson, already in ninth place on the Vikings all-time rushing list, can surpass Michael Bennett for eighth place in franchise history if he rushes for 177 yards today.
At his current pace, Peterson will be fourth on the Vikings all-time rushing list by the end of next season.
In his first two seasons, Peterson has topped 100 yards rushing in the first half eight times. In the history of the franchise prior to Peterson's arrival, the Vikings had accomplished that feat just six times, with Robert Smith (two) being the only player to do it more than once.
Peterson has averaged 103.4 rushing yards per game for his career. The only player in the history of the league with a higher average is Jim Brown, who averaged 104.3 yards a game in his Hall of Fame career.
With 28 rushing yards today, Chester Taylor will pass Daunte Culpepper into 12th place on the Vikings all-time rushing list. If he gains 100 yards, he will pass Fran Tarkenton into 11th place.
Matt Birk will be making his 146th start today, tying him with Milt Sunde on the all-time list for Vikings offensive linemen.
Ben Leber is tied for the league lead in defensive fumble recoveries with four – tied with Calvin Pace of the Jets and Lamar Woodley of the Steelers.
Leber is also tied for the franchise record for passes defensed by a linebacker with 12 – tying a mark set by Matt Blair in 1981.
The Giants and Vikings have both been impressive in time of possession – the Giants average holding the ball for 32:50 a game, while the Vikings have averaged 31:41 of possession time.
The Vikings have more than doubled the rushing average of their opponents – they have averaged 148 yards a game, while allowing 73 yards a game.
Kevin Williams needs 1.5 sacks for his third season with double-digit sacks.
Of 55 opposing punts fielded in play, the Vikings have returned 33 of them and called 22 fair catches. Opponents have had 47 punts in play, returning 39 with just eight fair-catch calls.
With his recent hot streak, Tarvaris Jackson has raised his season passer rating to 96.8. Among full-time starters, only Philip Rivers of the Chargers has a higher passer rating.
The Vikings haven't lost two straight games since Week 2 of the 2008 season.
The race for the Vikings' leading receiver is still up in the air. Bobby Wade leads with 49, followed by Bernard Berrian and Chester Taylor with 44 each.
Technically, Giants kicker John Carney hasn't missed a field goal all season. He has made 31 of 33 field goal attempts and both of his misses were blocked.
The Giants haven't attempted a field goal of 50 yards or longer, while Ryan Longwell has made a career-best five field goals from long distance this season.
Opposing quarterbacks of the Giants have thrown 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this season.
Eli Manning is sixth in the league in percentage of interceptions per passes thrown. The Vikings QBs are 27th in that category.
The Vikings are last in the league in punt return average allowed. The Giants are third.
The Giants are fifth in giveaway/takeaway ratio at plus-8. The Vikings are 24th at minus-5.
The Giants defense has only five fumble recoveries this year. Only Jacksonville (four) has fewer.
New York leads the league with only three fumbles lost and only three other teams have less than seven. The Vikings have lost 14 fumbles on offense – only the 49ers (16) are worse.
The Vikings defense has the inside track to winning the title of least rushing yards allowed. The Vikings have surrendered just 1,095 yards on the ground – 83 fewer than Pittsburgh and 89 fewer than Baltimore.
The Vikings are 161 yards behind the Giants in rushing yards (2,383 for New York, 2,222 for the Vikings). Only Baltimore (2,249) is between them atop the NFL.
The Giants have the most possessions in the offensive red zone (67) this season and are tied for most red zone touchdowns with 35. The Vikings have 43 red zone possessions on offense and have scored just 19 touchdowns. The only teams with fewer red zone TDs are the Lions, Bengals, Browns, Raiders and Rams – all teams that have lost 10 or more games.
Manning has just one 300-yard passing game this year, while the Vikings have none. Defensively, New York has allowed just one 300-yard passer, while the Vikings have allowed three.
The Vikings have had five 100-yard receiving games – four from Berrian and one from Shiancoe. The Giants have just two – one from Domenick Hixon and one from Plaxico Burress. Both teams have allowed three 100-yard receivers.
Peterson has three of the top 12 rushing days in the NFL this season with totals of 192, 165 and 160 yards.
Peterson has nine 100-yard rushing days this year. The Giants have six – four from Brandon Jacobs and two from Derrick Ward. The Giants have allowed just two 100-yard runners, while the Vikings have allowed none.