DE Watt eyeing Strahan’s sack mark
breaking his record. It has inspired me to get there and break it. I appreciate him.”
The path won’t be easy, with Peterson and the Vikings (8-6) traveling to face the AFC South champion Houston Texans on Sunday. The Texans have the league’s fifth best run defense, led by end J.J. Watt, and are one win away from securing both a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
“That’s one of our team goals we set at the beginning of the season,” Houston’s Andre Johnson said. “We’re going to go out and try to get that accomplished on Sunday. It’s better to have it done Sunday than try to do it the following week.”
The Vikings still have a shot at a wild-card berth in the NFC, but would likely need to win both of their remaining games and get some help to secure a spot. Peterson said any personal goals he’s shooting for are secondary to helping his team get into the postseason.
“If I continue to play the way I’ve been playing, I’ll be able to continue what I told myself earlier and help lead my team to a championship,” Peterson said. “They kind of go hand-in-hand. If you rip off a 200-, 300yard game, you get a ‘W,’ you’re doing what you told yourself that you were going to do in the offseason.”
Peterson needs 188 yards to become the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards and first since Chris Johnson did it in the 2009 season. He has a franchise-record eight straight 100-yard games and has ran for more than 200 yards in two of the last three weeks, making him a top candidate for the NFL’s most valuable player.
What’s perhaps most impressive is that he’s had his best games in the five weeks since receiver Percy Harvin went down with an injury and Minnesota’s passing game fell to last in the NFL.
“It’s not like we have a lot of things around him,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said of Peterson. “We have an offensive line that is doing a great job, but this is a new offensive line for the most part ... for Adrian to be doing what he’s doing with the pieces around him, he’s comeback player, MVP for sure.”
Like Peterson, Watt is also on the cusp of setting an NFL record. He needs 3½ sacks to break Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22½.