MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson had his third NFL rushing title wrapped up before kickoff between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, once Tampa Bay's Doug Martin fell short of the 64 yards he needed to match Peterson going into the Vikings' game on Sunday night. That meant Peterson would need only the 1,418 yards he accumulated through 15 games to win the rushing title, and the 67 he posted on Sunday night added to his final margin.
It also helped Peterson, who finished with 1,485 yards, avoid having the lowest yardage total by a rushing champion since Barry Sanders in 1990. As it is, Peterson's total was the lowest by a rushing leader since LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 1,474 in 2007 (with some guy named Turner as his head coach). But they all count, and Peterson is one of eight players in NFL history to win at least three rushing titles.
In addition to the title, though, he'll take a pay cut in 2016. He failed to reach 1,550 yards for the season, which triggered a de-escalator clause in his roster bonus for 2016. Peterson's $5 million bonus will now drop to $4 million, and he'll get the opportunity to earn the extra $1 million back if he runs for 1,550 yards and the Vikings win a playoff game next year. As it stands now, Peterson's 2016 cap figure will be $12 million, down from $15.65 million this year. He'll get his roster bonus, assuming he's still with the Vikings on the third day of the 2016 league year.
Here are some other items of interest from the Vikings' final regular-season statistics (thanks to research by ESPN Stats & Information and Pro Football Reference):
Peterson becomes the fourth different running back to win a rushing title for offensive coordinator Norv Turner, joining Emmitt Smith (1991-93), Ricky Williams (2001) and Tomlinson (2007).
We'll spend more time analyzing his performance once the season is over, but Teddy Bridgewater saw incremental improvement over his rookie season in completion percentage (65.3 over 64.4), yards (3,231 over 2,919, albeit in three more games) and interceptions (nine in 16 over 12 in 13 games). Bridgewater's passer rating improved 3.5 points to 88,7, and his QB Rating jumped nearly six points, from 56.8 to 62.7. While Bridgewater's passer rating was only 21st in the league, his QBR was the 13th-best. He threw for fewer yards than any of the other 16 quarterbacks who played all 16 games, and five QBs who missed at least one game -- Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford and Andy Dalton -- threw for more yards. Bridgewater.
Perhaps not surprisingly, no quarterback was pressured more than Bridgewater (36.6 percent of his dropbacks). Only four were blitzed more often than him (also 36.6 percent). Bridgewater's 6.66 air yards per pass attempt were the third fewest in the league.
Stefon Diggs' 52 receptions placed him fourth among rookies, and his 720 yards put him second, behind only Oakland's Amari Cooper. Considering the fifth-round pick didn't get on the field until Week 4, it was quite the impressive first year for Diggs.
Everson Griffen's two sacks on Sunday night gave him 10.5 for the season, making him the first player with back-to-back double-digit sack seasons in a Mike Zimmer defense. Considering only four players had surpassed 10 sacks in a Zimmer defense before this season -- DeMarcus Ware in 2006, Michael Johnson and Geno Atkins in 2012 and Griffen in 2014 -- it's an impressive accomplishment to do it twice. For the season, four Vikings linemen -- Griffen, Danielle Hunter, Tom Johnson and Brian Robison -- had at least five sacks, and rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks had four, while also leading the team with 92 tackles.
For the second time, Cordarrelle Patterson led the league in kick return average, and was the only return man in the league to bring back two kicks for touchdowns. He might have finished with three had Mason Crosby not stripped him of the ball on Sunday night.
Blair Walsh led the league with 34 made field goals, and he finished the year 6-for-8 on attempts of 50 yards or more. He did, however, miss four extra-point attempts, ranking 29th in the league among kickers who played at least 10 games with a success rate of 89.2 percent.
As a team, the Vikings finished 16th in points scored, 29th in yards gained, fifth in points allowed and 13th in yards allowed. They had the league's 31st-ranked passing offense, but the fourth-ranked running game. No team in the league gained a larger percentage of its yards on the ground than the Vikings' 43 percent. The defense is the first Zimmer unit not to finish in the top 10 in yards allowed in its second year under Zimmer, but it becomes his third unit with a top-five finish in points allowed, joining the 2003 Cowboys and 2013 Bengals. The defense was fifth in third-down efficiency (34.5 percent) and fourth in red-zone efficiency (44.2 percent).
With 88 penalties, the Vikings were the least-flagged team in the league. That's thanks largely to a offense that had six fewer penalties accepted (30) than any other team in the league. The Vikings also tied the Packers for the fourth-fewest turnovers in the league (17), and finished with a plus-five turnover margin thanks to 22 takeaways.