Eight years have passed since Adrian Peterson blasted the Chargers with an NFL-record 296 yards in a 35-17 win at the Metrodome.
Forgotten in the record is the fact Peterson stood at 258 yards when the Vikings got the ball back with 6:45 left in the game. Peterson had been pulled from the game and was on the sideline when Chester Taylor carried the ball four straight times for 34, 5, 0 and 2 yards for a touchdown.
The Vikings didn’t get the ball back again until 1:58 remained. Peterson got the first carry, which went for 35 yards. He was two yards from the record, yet Taylor got the next carry for six yards.
Then, with 1:04 left and the sideline alerted to where Peterson stood in relation to Jamal Lewis’ three-year-old record, Peterson carried the ball one more time, got his three yards and, well, the rest is history.
Peterson was asked today if he ever thinks how far he could have pushed the record had he gotten those six carries that Taylor got in the final 6:45.
“I do,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you. I look back and think, ‘Man, I could have been the first guy to go over 300.’ Four yards. But, you know, at the end of the day it wasn’t meant to happen or it would have happened. But I’ll say this: If I get close to 296 or 300 again, I will be asking for it next time.”
Peterson’s 134-yard game against the Lions on Sunday felt like old times. Today’s press conference had a similar feel, with Peterson even fielding a question from defensive end Brian Robison, who wanted to know if Peterson would prefer to fight one grizzly bear or three wolves (answer below).
Asked if it’s starting to feel like old times after missing 15 games last season to deal with child-abuse charges, Peterson said:
“In my mind, I would say so,” he said. “It’s funny how things kind of shaped up Week 1 and then I transitioned into Week 2. I’ll see how I feel this week. Body-wise, I really was able to get my body broke in this game. Twenty-nine carries, 30-some touches. So my body really took a pounding. So kind of build up that callous over the entire body. I’m sure guys will be bouncing off me a little more this Sunday.”
Asked if 300 yards is possible in today’s NFL, Peterson said, “It’s possible. Anything can happen. You just got to get on a roll and it has to be just one of those days.”
As for this Sunday, when the Chargers return to Minnesota for the first time since that record performance, Peterson said: “I’ve been telling the guys, ‘Be ready for a fight.’ You know, famine, famine, feast!”
Here are some other highlights from Peterson’s press conference:
— On what he remembers about the game: “Coach [Norv] Turner, I remember running by him a couple of times on the [Chargers] sideline. It was a great game. Great effort by the offense. When I look back on the games I’ve been a part of, that probably was the best game collectively that I’ve been a part of. Offensive line and receivers just dedicated to running the ball. Those guys really pinned their ears back and got after it. The result shows the effort, but it gets kind of overlooked with, ‘Oh, Adrian had 296, he set the record.’ But those are the things I remember.”
— On which runs are particularly memorable to him to this day: “Two of them. A ‘G-boss’ play to the right. Going into the end zone toward our tunnel. I remember that one. I remember EB [running backs coach Eric Bieniemy] getting on me the first half about just trusting it and getting around the corner. I trusted it. It really didn’t look clean and I just kept pressing it and was able to just break it for like 30 or 40 yards. And then I remember a long run to the left side, going toward the tunnel as well. I think it was maybe like 30 or 40 yards and I fumbled. So it was like a big run, a big play, and they ended up getting the ball. I guess we were just in the zone. Just get it back, hold it high and tight and me pounding the rock.”
— On LaDainian Tomlinson, who was on the other side that day, saying that game was a “passing of the torch”: “It means a lot to hear him say that because I went into that game and LT was a guy I looked up to and one of the guys who inspired me to be great as well. So I was pretty wired up to see him run and to play against him. Yeah, I guess you could say it was kind of a passing of the torch. But I’m not ready to pass the torch, I can tell you that.”
— On whether he knew he was getting close to the record: “I had no idea until it was like the fourth quarter and I needed like four or five yards. I think Jeff [Anderson, currently executive director of communications] came up and said something to me. Then coach put me in and I got past the record and then they took me out. It’s not something I think about. I’ve learned that if you go out and think about 200 yards, you’re not going to get it. Just go out and play and tally it up at the end.”
— On a question from defensive end Brian Robison, who poked his head into the scrum and asked if Peterson would rather fight a grizzly bear or three wolves: “A grizzly bear or three wolves? Wow. … Could I run?”
Note: Robison said running would result in the options becoming seven grizzly bears or 26 wolves.
“Well,” Peterson said. “I’ll run and just take my chances against the grizzly bears and run and zig-zag for the wolves. The strength of the wolves is the pack, so I don’t want to go against them.”