In Week 17 of the 2012 season, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson ran for 199 yards against the Packers, giving him 2,097 yards for the year. That was nine short of breaking the single-season record set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.
Peterson hasn't forgotten that he was this close to the record (partially because Packers fans won't let him), and in order to raise the stakes, he has announced his goals for the 2013 season: 2,500 rushing yards. Beyond that, Peterson has his sights on Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing mark of 18,355 yards.
As it stands, Peterson has amassed 8,849 yards in six seasons. That works out to 1,474.8 yards per year. If Peterson maintains that pace, he'll need another six-and-a-half seasons to eclipse Smith. That seems unlikely, but then again, Peterson has some experience with beating the odds.
Interestingly, Smith averaged 1,493 yards per season on 334.5 carries in his first five years. From years 6-10, that total dropped to 1,242 (on 306 carries), and the last four years of his career saw Smith average just 797 yards per season (on 218 carries). Likewise, Smith's rushing touchdowns declined from 16 to 9.8 to 4.8 over that same span, and his yards per carry fell from 4.5 to 4.1 to 3.5.
Peterson, meanwhile, sounds unconcerned with the math. In fact, he figures that, lord willing, he'll break Smith's record in 2017. Week 16 of the 2017 season, to be precise.
That's 79 games, which means AP will have to average 120.3 yards per game over that time, or more than 1,900 yards a season.
That seems ... well, impossible. Of course, we said the same thing about a running back rushing for more than 2,000 yards less than a year after shredding his knee to pieces.