ST. LOUIS — Adrian Peterson peeked up at the video board at the end of his 82-yard touchdown run and saw St. Louis Rams players trailing far behind him.
And with each fancy high-step to cap it off, the Minnesota Vikings running back moved closer to the NFL rushing record.
Peterson piled up a season-best 212 yards on 24 carries in a 36-22 victory Sunday that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. He has a career-best 1,812 yards rushing, leaving him 294 shy of breaking the NFL’s single-season mark of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.
“Yeah, yeah, I was able to see myself,” Peterson said. “I just told myself to stay relaxed and ‘You don’t have to put on too much juice, but make sure you get there.”’
He remained hot on the trail of Dickerson’s record. Peterson, less than a year removed from a serious knee injury, has two games left — at Houston and home against Green Bay — to top it.
“Yeah, it’s been in my sights,” Peterson said. “I’m not focusing on it. It’s in the back of my head that, hey I definitely want to accomplish that.
“I look at today’s game and I could have had 300.”
Slight consolation for the Rams: Without the two long-gainers, Peterson had 78 yards on 22 carries.
“He’s very elusive, very elusive,” tackle Michael Brockers said. “You’ve got to get all tacklers to the ball. On some of the big runs, we didn’t do that very well.”
On Peterson’s long touchdown run in the second quarter, he was able to turn what appeared would be a short gain into a big score.
“He continues to amaze you with some of his runs,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “It looks like there was nothing there and the next thing you know he’s out the door.”
The Vikings (8-6) scored 10 of their 23 points in the second quarter off turnovers by Sam Bradford, including a 29-yard interception return by defensive end Everson Griffen, who had dropped into coverage. The Rams quarterback watched in disbelief from his knees.
“Yeah, that’s one of those things I’ve got to be able to see,” Bradford said. “He’s right there. You can’t throw one right to him like that.”