Genevieve Ross/Associated Press
Not Just Total Yards
Adrian Peterson not only threatened Eric Dickerson's NFL record for rushing yards in a season, he did so with a nearly unprecedented average of 6.0 yards per carry. Only five other players have led the NFL in rushing while averaging 6.0 or more yards per carry. Barry Sanders led the league in rushing with 2,053 yards in 1997 (6.1 avg.), O.J. Simpson did so in 1973 (6.0 avg.), Jim Brown in 1963 (6.4 avg.), Joe Perry in 1954 (6.1 avg.) and Beattie Feathers in 1934 (8.4 avg.).
10+ Rushing TD Again
Adrian Peterson had 12 rushing TDs last season. Peterson has 10+ rushing TDs in every season of his six-year career, joining NFL Network's LaDainian Tomlinson as the only players to have 10+ rushing TD in their first six seasons. Tomlinson did so in his first nine seasons. Hall of Fame running backs Frank Gifford, John Henry Johnson, Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Marion Motley, Charley Trippi and Doak Walker never had a season with 10+ rushing TDs.
Carrying the Offense
Adrian Peterson had at least 75 more rushing yards than the Vikings had passing yards five times in 2012. The only other players in NFL history with 4+ such games in a season are O.J. Simpson (six times for the 1973 Bills) and Walter Payton (four times for the 1977 Bears). The Vikings ranked second in rushing offense last season (164.6 YPG) while ranking 31st in passing offense (171.9 YPG).
Walsh From Distance
Rookie kicker Blair Walsh made 10 field goals of 50+ yards last season, the most in a single season in NFL history (he was 10 of 10). Two players had made eight field goals from 50+ yards, Morten Anderson (8 of 9) for the 1995 Falcons and Jason Hanson (8 of 8) for the 2008 Lions. Walsh made the same number of 50+ yard field goals in his four seasons at the University of Georgia (10 of 17) and made just 60 percent of his total field goals during his senior season of 2011 (21 of 35).
USA TODAY Sports/NFL
The Vikings selected three players in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. They took DT Sharrif Floyd from Florida with the 23rd pick, CB Xavier Rhodes out of Florida State with the 25th pick and WR Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee with the 29th pick. The last team to take three players in the first round was the 2001 Rams, selecting DT Damione Lewis from Miami (FL) with the 12th pick, S Adam Archuleta from Arizona State with the 20th pick and DT Ryan Pickett from Ohio State with the 29th pick. The Rams made the Super Bowl that season, losing to the Patriots 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI; we'll see if the Vikings can do the same in 2013.
More Explosive Running
In 2012 the Vikings were the only team in the league to have more rushing plays of 20+ yards (33) than passing plays of 20+ yards (28). Adrian Peterson had 27 rushes of 20+ yards, 15 more than C.J. Spiller, who ranked second. Carolina and San Francisco each had 17 runs of 20+ yards last season, ranking second behind the Vikings. The Vikings are the only team since at least 1991 to have more 20+ yard runs than 20+ yard passes. Over that same time period, the 2010 Raiders are the only team to have 27 20+ yard runs. No team since at least 1991 had more runs of 20+ yards than Adrian Peterson did in 2012.
Tim Sharp/Associated Press
On Thanksgiving Day in 1998, Randy Moss had a game for the ages. He had three receptions for 163 yards, and they all went for TDs in the Vikings' 46-36 win at Dallas. There have been 16 instances in NFL history in which a player had three receptions that all went for TDs. However, Moss' 163 receiving yards are the most for any of those 16 games. No player has ever had four receptions, all going for TDs, in the same game.
Jim Mone/Associated Press
Harvin After the Catch
Percy Harvin led the Vikings last season with 677 receiving yards on 62 receptions. Harvin played only nine games before injuring his ankle and missing the remainder of the season. Of Harvin's 677 receiving yards, 537 came after the catch, meaning his 62 receptions came a total of 140 yards past the line of scrimmage. This means Harvin caught his passes an average of 2.3 yards downfield.
Hall of Famer John Randle leads all defensive tackles with 137.5 career sacks, 41 more than NFL Network's Warren Sapp, who sits in second place. Randle had 1.5 or more sacks in 35 career games, and his teams were 30-5 in those games.
National Football League
Before His Time?
Fran Tarkenton retired as the NFL's all-time leading passer in 1978. His 47,003 yards were almost 7,000 more than Johnny Unitas, who ranked second at that time. Tarkenton still ranks sixth, and his retirement came before any of the other quarterbacks in the top 10 (Favre, Marino, P. Manning, Elway, Moon, Testaverde, Brees, Brady and Bledsoe) entered the league.
Tom Olmscheid/Associated Press
Cris Carter retired in 2002 after 16 seasons in the NFL. At the time, only Jerry Rice had more career receptions and receiving touchdowns. Also impressive was Carter's reliability -- he played a full 16-game season in 13 of his 16 years in the NFL, missing only 22 games in his career. Among Hall of Fame wide receivers, only Jerry Rice (303) and Charlie Joiner (239) played more games than Carter (234).
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