Eric Dickerson was a great running back. But even if he still holds the single-season rushing record after this Sunday, when Adrian Peterson and his surgically repaired knee will be done churning out of the Minnesota backfield, chances are that Peterson will have done something Dickerson could have never touched.
Peterson is about to change the way the NFL plays offense.
It sounds funny to anoint Peterson as the next great one, even with his 1,898 yards and 6.0 yards per carry this season. Running backs, after all, are the greatest of the shining stars in the NFL — so, so bright when they first light up, then so quickly flaming out when their bodies break after a few brief seasons of magical play.
A great season by an NFL running back has usually been just that — one great season for one great player, and not much more.
But what Peterson is doing is not just piling up numbers. This is not Chris Johnson in 2009, notching 2,006 yards then getting shut down when he had lesser teammates...