Adrian Peterson's road to 1,000 yards rushing is hard, but doable

JP Finlay
NBC Sports Washington

Redskins running back Adrian Peterson remains on a steady ascent up the NFL all-time rushing records, but for the 2019 season, getting to 1,000 yards remains the goal. 

"I'll get there," Peterson said earlier this week.

Peterson will go into Sunday's game against the Eagles with 718 rush yards, so he needs to average 94 yards-per-game in the last three games to get to 1,000 on the season. 

He reached that milestone last year in one of the more remarkable comeback stories in recent NFL history. He was unsigned as training camps opened around the league and only came to Washington after an injury to rookie RB Derrius Guice in the preseason. 

From there, he became the focal point of an ugly yet often effective Redskins offense. After Alex Smith went down with a broken leg, Peterson was all the Redskins had, and he nearly willed Washington to a near miraculous Wild Card spot. 

This year, there will be no miracles and no Wild Card spot. At 3-10, Washington has been mostly awful and unless they get a win in their three remaining games will post their worst record since 2013. 

For 34-year-old Peterson, however, he's still playing at a strong level, and the 1,000 yard mark almost gives the last portion of the season some semblance of meaning. 

It won't be easy though.

The Eagles give up 90 rush yards per-game, the third-best run defense in the NFL. In their last eight games, Philadelphia has given up 94 or more rush yards only four times. 

After that, the Redskins face the Giants and the Cowboys. Both clubs give Peterson a chance to hit 1,000.

New York ranks 20th in the NFL in rush defense, giving up 114 rush yards-per-game. The Cowboys rank 19th against the run, allowing 110 yards-per-game.

Should Peterson get to Dallas in Week 17 needing a big game on the ground to get to 1,000, he could get it. As the Cowboys have slumped in the second half of the year, so too has their rush defense. Dallas has given up 100 rush yards in each of their last seven games, and even worse, the Cowboys have given up more than 150 rush yards twice during that span. 

Ask Redskins coach Bill Callahan and it seems like Peterson will get every opportunity for yards.

"I'd love for it to happen, especially for him. He did it again last year," Callahan said this week. "He did it under some really tough circumstances."

Last year marked Peterson's eighth time going for more than 1,000 yards, but his first since 2015. If he can get there this year, it would be his first time rushing for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons since 2012 and 2013. In 2012, Peterson actually rushed for more than 2,000 yards. 

What would make 1,000 yards in 2019 even more remarkable? Peterson is 34. 

In the Super Bowl era only one running back has run for more than 1,000 yards at age 34. His name is John Riggins, and he did so in a Redskins uniform in 1983.

Knowing Peterson, his goal for 2020 will be the same: 1,000 yards. Should that happen, Peterson would tie a record as the oldest NFL running back to gain 1,000 yards in a season.

The record holder at age 35? Riggins. 

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Adrian Peterson's road to 1,000 yards rushing is hard, but doable originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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