DE Watt eye­ing Strahan’s sack mark

Tex­ans

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Con­tin­ued from C

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.

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