Peterson Playing (11/18/14)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Does Adrian Peterson's suspension matter?



The NFL, now, more than ever, is a quarterback league. Offenses have shifted toward mores shotgun and multiple receivers sets and away from the ground and pound of yesteryear.

Some organizations (Dallas, Seattle and Kansas City) have found success building around workhorse running backs (DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles), but the three best teams in our Power Rankings are top ten in offensive passing efficiency.

Do NFL running backs really matter anymore? Does Adrian Peterson's suspension really impact the Vikings' season?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in the game. Peterson has missed nine games this year and the NFL plans to ban the running back for the remainder of the season due to off-the-field issues. The Minnesota Vikings are 4-6 and outside the playoff picture.

For as great as Adrian Peterson has been in his career, if he played all season, would Peterson really make a difference to the Vikings' playoff chances?

To find out we ran 50,000 simulations of the Minnesota Vikings 2014 season with Adrian Peterson playing. Note: Teddy Bridgewater plays the full season in the simulations.

With Adrian Peterson, the Vikings finish third in the NFC North with a 7.5-8.5 projected record. Peterson is projected to finish third (behind DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell) in the league in rushing with 1,553.3 yards and 14.4 touchdowns.

Without Peterson, Minnesota is currently projected to finish last in the NFC North with a 6.6-9.4 record. The Vikings have a 1.6 percent chance of reaching the playoffs and a 0.1 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl.

Adrian Peterson is a talented running back, but as a running back he has less impact on a season than the casual fan might expect. Unfortunately for Minnesota, even if Peterson had played all season the Vikings would not be a playoff team.