If Adrian Peterson says that he's going to smash the rushing record by breaking 2,500 yards for the season ... then by God's hand ... that's exactly what he's going to do. Maybe we can't see it ... but AD certainly can. It torments him ... and soon it will torment you too.
On average, in six years, AD has averaged 292 carries per year. Last year he was blessed with 348. As my son recently pointed out (from the mouths of babes), Adrian Peterson will need to flirt with an average that exceeds 8 yards per carry. Is this impossible? The answer is unequivocally no ... as the barriers of pole vaulting the artificial sound barriers of the NFL rest only in the minds that surround AD. These minds need to be shifted out of their zones of comfort.
For example, for this monumental feat to succumb to AD's will, he will have to be allowed to smash another artificial ceiling ... of 350 yards in one game. I'll bet that not one of his coaches had even fathomed the possibility of such a thing. Sounds impossible ... Right? Just ask Matt Burke as he observed AD tally well over 200 yards in the second half of his record breaking single game 297 yard performance versus the Chargers, those many years ago. Today, AD is even stronger and more importantly wiser than in the days of his youth. You see, to allow this 350 yard barrier to fall, AD's coaches have to not only mentally confront this obstacle before it actually happens ... they have to visually see it, again before it happens ... in the eyes of Adrian Peterson. Doesn't anyone remember them saying that the sound barrier could never be broken? A guy named Yeager maybe saw that barrier a little differently.
If this 350 yards in a single game barrier were to be within AD's grasp, these coaches would have to confront the pin-head who might think that the Vikings are just running it up on a weaker team rather than simply allowing AD to grasp that brass ring that is way out in the rarified air. AD is asking nothing more than what Yeager did. It's going to happen ... now deal with it!
What the game versus the 2012 Houston Texans tells us is that Super Charging AD is more than a feasible idea. It's like turning the NFL back upon it's head ... something that been done countless times over it history. Of course, in the Houston game we reversed the trend flip flopping AD and Gerhart, essentially playing Toby at games end but the concept is more than just feasible. Our coaches need to get past their fears of what people might think of their brilliant moves rather than by just executing these kill shots for effect. Never in the history of the NFL have such pieces been assembled in such a way for this franchise.
Allow me to explain the coaching dilemma. In some ways, the NFL is allot like chess. Solid players can anticipate your moves 3 moves before you make them. Master are well beyond that. To be able to defeat any opponent you have to not only anticipate their moves, you need to be prepared to counter their intelligence. Acting as they wish you to act ... in a state of normalcy ... can only result in failure. We've had enough of that. In short, we need to change the complexion of the game by executing the unexpected. Some use a trick play which is much like playing the lottery ... not a good idea. Some lull you into complacency before they strike at your heart. The true genius manipulates the contest into his favor by disrupting the sequence, the flow or the execution ... and that boys ... is what we call great opportunity (Herb Brooks).
As for the mental obstacle, removing AD first quarter battering ram presence in the first quarter for an early but often Toby Gerhart touches might appear to be insane but it is far from it. Without AD's initial early touches, teams will most certainly revert back to basic defenses rather than stacking the line however games are, generally speaking, not won in the first quarter. Teams that lose the game in the first quarter ... have player that quit ... and aren't capable of finishing strong. We all might remind our coaching staff that we'll never win the Super Bowl with quitters and a team that doesn't have the ability to finish strong. We don't have to always play with a lead ... we just have to always commit to the run regardless of whether we have the lead or not. The challenge for our coaches is to force this teams hand. It's always easy to play with a lead ... then fall into complacency. The plan doesn't suit any particular player ... the plan suits the execution of the team!
So what happens if our coaches don't see themselves as the problem? No, you're not special, this franchise has a long list of historic failures laid at the feet of our coaches that have always been 1-step too slow. If the coaches are unwilling to execute their brilliant maneuvers, then you will be forced to confront a rather ugly fact. 2,500 yards divided by AD's historic average of 5.04 yards per carry results in 496 carries. You need to look no further than Chester Taylor's 2006 season, 1-year prior to drafting Adrian Peterson to see the disaster in the number 496. In short, we need to get more from much less and there is only 1-way of doing this. It lies within the word genius ... and it is there ... right before our eyes.
You might think AD's 2,500 mark lies within his full back, or his offensive line, his quarterback or even in his receivers ability to stretch the field. Some might think that it lies at the feet of Christian Ponder. To a great extent it does however the bonus yards lie at the feet of two defensive minds by the names of Williams and Frazier. In Houston, the unique skill set of Everson Griffen's poked it's "ugly head" (a nasty defensive ordeal) out upon the scene of Allan Williams fledgling 5-2 defense scheme ... and that was with a one armed Allen and without a guy named Robison. The Texan's were absolutely stifled as the defense shifted like an ugly rancid bowl of Jell-O. The emergence of this evolving defensive scheme will change the historic landscape of the 2013 season in the favor of AD's quest. If the 1st half of that Houston game featured five to nine Gerhart touches, the Texans would have just simply quit ... one by one ... resulting in a completely different day for AD. Instead AD was pounded into submission. It was hard to look at but it proves a simple point ... we are going to take it to you before we unleash the pending torment.
As for a historical perspective, the Archduke Ferdinand moment for the Cow Pokes occurred at the hands of a Hall of Famer on January 17, 1971. Bob Lilly, the same tackle that gave up the Bart Star QB sneak for the championship clincher in the ice bowl did something completely out of character. At the final gun, he tossed his helmet into the air and well down the field in absolute frustration. His message was clear, although he apologized for it afterwards. Being the bridesmaid, over and over again ... just doesn't cut it. The message, upon witnessing it live ... was unmistakable. On January 16, 1972 that moniker, the same one that this franchise still faces, changed for all time. Now, and for all time, the Cow Poke franchise will benefit from that simple mundane act.
We were 11 yards away with seconds left on the clock ... calling our final time out. This was this franchise's Archduke Ferdinand moment ... the entire teams focal point. As a rookie, the Eric Dickerson's rushing record was well within his range ... only to be torn asunder by fate. Eric Dickerson's greatest record was at hand. Sure, sending out the kicker was the safe call ... ensuring and sealing our ticket to the playoffs ... but what did it matter? What did it mean? This franchise has been to the playoffs numerous times but to no avail. Sure it means a bit of playoff money for the entire crew however in the vast scheme of things ... did a playoff spot really matter in the scheme of things? To be direct ... no one remembers playoff money, except the ones that truly need it. It's not as if you were not warned ... SECONDS. ... before it even happened. Every player that ever strapped on a set of horns would give anything to be any part of that record ... but it was snatched away from AD ... without even a thought in the world.
If you were to ask Adrian Peterson, the clock is stopped, and you go back to that very moment in time where the entire football world was watching and hanging onto pins and needles, if they would have stopped him on that final play. I would expect that AD's answer would be without hesitation and without question. There was no way they could have stopped me from not only securing those final 9 yards for the record ... there would have been pay-dirt all over that ball. With no way for the Vikings to stop the clock, Green Bay would have called a time out and instructed their players to guard the side lines in an attempt to score using the sidelines to stop the clock if AD came up short. Unfortunately for the Packers, the ball was clearly going right up the gut and there was absolutely no one that was going to stop me one on one. The most ironic thought of all is that if the Vikings were out of the playoff hunt ... the play would most certainly have happened.
Every member of that 2012 Minnesota Viking's team had a hand directly in that NFL rushing record ... and now those special seconds ... will become the focal point of destiny. These few bellowing ticks off that clock, once ignored as being insignificant, are going to repeat, over and over again and pound within their brains in a reoccurring nightmare. They all can now vividly see, hear and feel the momentous charging Adrian Peterson, on his way to assaulting the record and the goal line of our biggest rival ... sending the leagues most powerful message ... on a play that never happened. It has been ripped from every member of that 2012 squad as if taking their first born child from the safety of their loving arms ... to be tossed upon the funeral pyre of history. That's the kind of stain that doesn't rub off.
No one dared speak of it ... as if it never happened ... but it did.
There is now only one was to exercise this demon. The wrong ... one of many ... must be righted and the rather large stone must once again be pushed up that hill.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: July 8, 2013