Adrian Peterson vs. Calvin Johnson: Who Is Having the More Impressive Season?

Jeremy SickelContributor IIIDecember 23, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 16: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 16, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Following his 225-yard performance during Saturday night's 31-18 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson joined Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in his pursuit of a 2,000-yard season.

Johnson entered the night just 182 yards shy of Jerry Rice's NFL single-season record of 1,848 receiving yards set back in 1995 with the San Francisco 49ers.

After his eighth straight 100-yard effort (another NFL record), Megatron will go into Week 17 just 108 yards from possibly putting the new record out of reach for good.

Peterson, on the other hand, will have to hit the 2,000-yard mark before getting his shot at Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards set in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams.

While all eyes were on Johnson Saturday night, Peterson will get his turn under the microscope during Sunday's contest with the Houston Texans. The running back will have his work cut out for him against the league's fifth-best run defense.

Though they play different positions—which will certainly play a part in the decision—the question of who is having the more impressive season between the two needs to be answered.

Here is a side-by-side look at some of the numbers:


Calvin Johnson—117 receptions, 1,892 receiving yards, 16.2 yards per reception, five touchdowns, two 200-plus yard games, eight straight 100-yard performances and four team wins.

Adrian Peterson—289 carries, 1,812 rushing yards, 6.3 yards per carry, 11 touchdowns, two 200-plus yard games, eight straight 100-yard performances and eight team wins.


While both Johnson and Peterson are having phenomenal seasons—both head and shoulders above the competition at their respective positions—there are a few areas pointing toward Peterson having the more extraordinary campaign in 2012.

Not only has Peterson played in one less game thus far, he has double the number of touchdowns of Johnson and the Vikings have twice as many wins as the Lions as well.

Taking nothing away from Johnson—and some could argue that he is the only viable offensive weapon in Detroit as well—but Peterson has carried a playoff-caliber team all season long.

Christian Ponder has been inconsistent at quarterback, wide receiver Percy Harvin hasn't played since Week 9 and defensive end Jared Allen is having a down year by his standards. If not for Peterson, who knows where Minnesota would stand in a crowded NFC.

What's even more impressive about what Peterson is doing this year is that the NFL is transforming into a pass-happy video-game version of its former self. Teams are throwing the ball at a record rate and the featured running back is becoming less popular.

Though the Vikings offense is void of viable weapons and has leaned on Peterson the entire season, it is refreshing to still see teams playing smash-mouth football amid the high-flying offensive attacks across the league.

If you still aren't convinced that Peterson gets the nod here, consider that the running back entered the season just nine months removed from ACL surgery.

All things considered, Peterson's 2012 season could go down as the absolute best that we have ever seen—obviously giving him the edge over Johnson in this debate.


Follow Jeremy on Twitter @KCPopFlyBoy.