NFL.com's Chris Wesseling dived into Next Gen Stats that prove Adrian Peterson is still capable of reaching a top speeds.
*Despite generating a season-high 192 yards from scrimmage in the Vikings' Week 2 victory, Adrian Peterson's famed fifth-gear was noticeably missing on a 49-yard catch-and-run through open prairie land. *
*After Peterson showed off his trademark power and explosive slashing in a highlight-filled performance the next week, the only question remaining was whether he would be able to pull away from defenders for game-breaking runs as he did back in his 2012 MVP season. *
Peterson put in extra sprinting work on his off day between Weeks 2 and 3 and said "I think I'm back," after breaking loose for a 43-yard TD run against San Diego.
*He bolstered that statement with authority on a 48-yard, fourth-down burst that brought the Vikings back into the game early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's nail-biting loss at Denver. *
Per Next Gen Stats, Peterson reached a ****season-best speed of 21.89 mph***** — the highest of any Week 4 running back — while streaking past Darian Stewart and eliminating the free safety's angle. *
*It's exactly the kind of back-breaking sprint Peterson pulled off in routine fashion three years ago, gashing stacked boxes en route to the greatest 10-game stretch (1,598 rushing) in NFL history. *
Wesseling pointed out that Peterson, the NFL's rushing leader through four games, has more yards this season (372) than he did after four games in 2012 (332), when he came within eight yards of Eric Dickerson's single-season record.
On pace for historic performance
While the top-end speed is still there, ESPN.com's Ben Goessling looks at another aspect of Peterson's season so far. The end-of-season projections based on four-game averages would place him high on the list of what has been accomplished by a running back at age 30 or beyond.
He's on pace for a top-10 year for a 30-year-old running back, and would be the first 30-something rushing champ in 11 years: Peterson is currently ****on pace for 1,488 yards***, which would be the eighth-most in NFL history by a running back in his 30s, and the fifth-most for a back at age 30. If Peterson stayed on this pace, he'd finish right behind Barry Sanders, who ran for 1,491 yards at age 30 in 1998 (what turned out to be his final season). Interestingly enough, only eight backs in NFL history have run for 1,000 yards in their 30s while matching or exceeding Peterson's current 4.96-yards-per-carry average. If Peterson wins the rushing title, he'd be the first back to do it in his 30s since Curtis Martin in 2004.*
Jonathan Ellis of the Argus Leader reported that Vikings Hall of Famer and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page will be the **keynote speaker** this year at the 34th annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner and Children's Charity Fundraiser in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Former U.S. Marshal and state lawmaker Gene Abdallah started the charity dinner to honor law enforcement and raise money for children's charities. The event typically draws about 2,000 people.
This year's dinner will take place on Nov. 4, 6 p.m. at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls. Limited tickets remain for $50 each. For information, call 605-941-0054.