The following is the first of a four-part series breaking down why the other teams in the NFC North won’t be contenders this season. (The Packers get two parts.)
The Vikings made the playoffs last year because Adrian Peterson had an eight-game stretch that was as good as any he’s had in his career. If the now 31-year-old back can’t do that again, they won’t be taking the next step so many are predicting for them.
After a stink bomb in their opener, AP averaged 116.3 rushing yards per game, scored five touchdowns and his team went 7-1, averaging 24.4 points per game.
After that, he averaged 71.1 yards per game and the Vikings went 4-4, averaging 22 points per game (despite blowing out the Bears and the Giants).
So outside of Peterson’s historic eight-game stretch, they went 4-5 outside and averaged 19.9 points per game.
Maybe we should never bet against Peterson, but history has shown us we should definitely never bet against Father Time. Peterson is 31 and had 39 more rushing attempts than any other player in the league last year. Just like 2013, a drop off is likely. Betting on a 31-year-old running back, no matter how great he was, just seems unwise.
If Peterson can’t carry the team again, who can? There’s no evidence it’s Teddy Bridgewater.