MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson finished Sunday thinking about a nice, round number -- and it wasn't the 1,600 yards he has gained this season.
It was more like this: 2,000.
Peterson has set his sights on eclipsing the magic number for running backs in a season that has already been the most extraordinary of his career. After gaining 154 yards in the Minnesota Vikings' 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears, Peterson is within striking distance of a feat accomplished by only six players in NFL history.
"I'm thinking about it," Peterson said. "I don't try to think about it too much, but I feel like it will happen. It's obvious we're going to continue to run the ball. I feel like the chips will fall where they may."
Yes, after watching Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder produce his third sub-100 yard game of the season, there is every reason to think the Vikings should ride Peterson as much as possible over their final three games. They almost certainly will need to win all three to reach the playoffs, and Sunday they left little doubt about their strategy for getting there.
Ponder threw only one pass during an opening seven-minute sequence in which Peterson gained 74 yards and scored two touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead. Peterson finished with a career-high 31 carries, while Ponder threw his second-fewest passes (19) in a game this season.
"It's all willpower," Peterson said. "They pretty much know we are going to run the ball. Our offensive line knows that. Receivers [too]. So everybody is dialed in."
To reach 2,000 this season, Peterson needs to average about 10 yards more than his current average of 123 yards per game. Normally I would feel confident that Eric Dickerson's NFL record of 2,105 yards is safe -- Peterson would need 169 yards per game to break it -- but betting against Peterson this season hasn't always worked out well.
For now, though, we'll consider one milestone at a time. The next stop for this freight train: 2,000 yards.