Since we were apparently a week ahead of schedule in zeroing in on Adrian Peterson's chances of getting 2,000 yards (seriously, there were crickets when we threw it out as a talker last week and now it's all anyone wants to discuss), we will again try to get out in front and sacrifice valuable page views by taking the story a different direction: If Peterson gets to 2,000 (or even breaks Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105) how badly will his efforts have been wasted, in the context of other 2,000 yard rushers, if the Vikings miss the playoffs?
Well, here is your answer: Six running backs have eclipsed 2,000 yards in a single season. Here is how their teams fared that year:
*O.J. Simpson: 1973 Bills: Finished 9-5 but missed the playoffs (remember, it was tougher to make the playoffs back then).
*Eric Dickerson, 1984 Rams: Finished 10-6 and made the playoffs.
*Barry Sanders, 1997 Lions: Finished 9-7 and made the playoffs.
*Terrell Davis, 1998 Broncos: Finished 14-2 and won the Super Bowl (in the season about which we don't speak).
*Jamal Lewis, 2003 Ravens: Finished 10-6 and made the playoffs.
*Chris Johnson, 2009 Titans: Finished 8-8 (after 0-6 start) and missed the playoffs.
So there you have it: four of the six teams with 2,000-yard rushers in NFL history made the playoffs, another had a very good record and missed the playoffs, and the other went on a huge tear at the end of the year when its 2,000-yard rusher was on fire (11 consecutive 100-yard games).