Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won his third NFL rushing title in nine seasons about an hour before tonight's kickoff against the Packers at Lambeau Field.
In what became a two-man race, Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin trailed Peterson by 64 yards entering Week 17, but finished with 48 yards on 15 carries in the Buccaneers’ loss to Carolina. He finished with 1,402 yards while Peterson takes 1,418 into the Packers game. We’ll assume that Peterson won’t finish with minus-17 yards rushing.
Peterson, 30, is the eighth running back in league history with at least three rushing titles. The other seven are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jim Brown won a record eight titles in nine seasons (1957-65). Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith, O.J. Simpson, Steve Van Buren and Barry Sanders each won four. Earl Campbell won three.
Peterson also is only the third running back in his 30s to win a rushing title since the NFL began keeping official stats in 1932. Marion Motley (30) did it in 1950 and Curtis Martin (31) did it in 2004. They, too, are in the Hall of Fame.
Peterson shrugged last week when asked about winning a third title. “I see myself having the opportunity to win it a couple more years,” he said.