Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian ‘All Day’ Peterson Fumbles a Lot, but Does It Matter?

May 25, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments

I was speaking to a fellow Viking fan recently and mentioned Adrian "AD" Peterson's fumbling problem. His response was immediate and visceral: "What problem? Walter Payton fumbled a lot, too."
It is true that Sweetness fumbled a lot. But it's also true that the Bears lost more games when he fumbled.
I can't find per-game fumble stats for Payton's era, but according to pro-football-reference.com, he fumbled 86 times in his career, which equates to 2.0 percent of his touches (rushing attempts + receptions).
Sweetness kept his fumble rate below 2.0 percent in eight of 13 seasons. In those eight seasons, the Bears' W-L record was 74-47.
In other the five seasons, the Bears were 37-36. Clearly, his fumbling mattered.
Per-game fumble stats are available for AD. He's played 49 games in his career (including three playoff games).
In AD's three seasons, the Vikes have been 20-13 when AD did not fumble. When he did, their record was 9-7. Not quite as big a drop...

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