Running in Different Directions: Adrian Peterson and Chris JohnsonOctober 11, 2012
Last season Adrian Peterson ran for 970 yards and 12 TDs.; Chris Johnson ran for 1,047 yards sand 4 TDs. AD played 4 less games than Johnson. Although Chris was on the up and up, and injury has seemed to slow him down, unlike Adrian who is looking like he is the same back from old.
After the 2009 season, Chris Johnson appeared to be running straight toward Canton after rushing for 2,006 yards and 14 TDs. He looked nearly unstoppable, and the reason the Titans offense was working so well. The 2010 season was another good year for Johnson, and due to that he wanted to be compensated for it.
From 2008 to 2010, Chris led the league in rushing yards, and he was awarded for it—4 years, $53.5 Million ($30 mil guaranteed)—but it came with a heavy price tag. Johnson missed the entire 2011 off season, and it showed on the field. With new offensive coordinator, Chris Palmer, the offense did not flow through Johnson anymore, and teams were able to stop him (and ultimately my fantasy stats).
In that same 2008 to 2010 time, Adrian Peterson rushed for 157 yards less than Johnson. The Vikings had already placed the fate of their franchise on the back of Purple Jesus to the tune of $96 million over seven seasons. On Christmas Eve 2011, Peterson received coal in his stocking by tearing his ACL and MCL. He was immediately placed on the IR, and it was questioned whether he would be ready for opening day 2012.
Adrian has started this season really strong (most importantly for my fantasy teams). He is still hurting a little, but only minor football injuries. Johnson has still struggled under the new offensive system, and Tennessee may reluctantly look to trade the frustrated back.
Just two years ago, these two back were in a race to be the best, and now they are running toward different end zones. I do not believe that this is the end of Chris Johnson, who once boasted a 4.24 40-yard dash time, I just believe that it will take another system for him to thrive. And if he wants to thrive, he will need to move on it soon as NFL running backs have the shortest life–span. I do not think Johnson and Peterson will battle for the top running back spot again, but they will be both go down as elite backs.