The football world has its eyes on the Minnesota Vikings this season, and now it's not just because of Brett Favre. Adrian Peterson's stellar performance on Sunday has earned him the cover of Sports Illustrated, which comes out Wednesday with an image of Peterson leaving the Cleveland defense in the dust, with the headline "Dominator."
It turns out the magazine had a writer following the Vikings the past week and was ready to go with a feature that says of the running back: "Globally, he is fast becoming the face of football."
An excerpt [via the Star Tribune's Access Vikings blog]:
On Sunday, Peterson displayed his own gifts in a 34-20 victory ... tearing up the Browns' defense with the kind of speed and violent running that harks back to the game's greats.
With Jim Brown in attendance and Brett Favre making his first start for Minnesota, it was Peterson who displayed the greatest star power, toughing out 180 rushing yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns, including a 64-yard dash down the left sideline that included five broken tackles and two stiff arms. He played through dehydration and a bloody gash in his left arm, and spent a portion of halftime vomiting.... Is he the best running back in the NFL? "I answer that question this way," Peterson says. "I want people to remember me as the best player to ever play the game."
Just for fun, let's play the "On a pace" game: One game of 180 yards times 16 games equals 2,880 yards. OK, that won't happen, but the single-season NFL rushing record is 2,105 by Eric Dickerson. Peterson gained 1,760 yards last year when a lackluster Viking passing game meant that opposing teams were focused almost entirely on stopping him. This year, with Favre keeping opponents honest, Peterson would have to average 21.6 more yards per game to break the all-time season record. Not unthinkable. And that would definitely be worth another cover story.