Top 10 NFL Running Backs of All Time Series: No. 6, Adrian Peterson
This is the fifth in a ten-part series which breaks down in detail the Top 10 running backs in NFL history.
Peterson was drafted 7th overall out of the University of Oklahoma by the Minnesota Vikings. He has been in the NFL for five years, and was still in his prime before suffering a devastating knee injury towards the end of last season. Between that and an ankle injury, he missed a total of four games last year.
Peterson seems like a mortal lock to make the Hall of Fame when his career is over. So far, he has made four Pro Bowls and has been named to two All-Pro first teams.
At this point in his career, Peterson has one season where he rushed for 1,500-plus yards. His best year, where he ran for 1,760 yards, currently ranks as the 22nd-highest rushing yards total in a single season.
During that year, Peterson averaged a career-best 110.0 rushing yards a game which ranks as the 30th-highest single-season total ever. For his career, he has averaged 92.5 rushing yards a game, which ranks 4th all-time.
His best single-season mark for yards per attempt was 5.6 in his rookie season. For his career, he has a robust 4.8 yards per attempt.
Peterson's highest rushing TD total for a season was 18, which is the 15th-highest single-season total ever. For his career, he ranks 36th all-time for rushing TDs.
Peterson's career rushing yard total of 6,752 has him currently ranked 60th all time. However, he still should have enough left in the tank even after the knee injury to skyrocket up that career rushing yard list.
This past injury-shortened season was the first time he rushed for under 1,200 yards in a year. He has never had less than 10 rushing TDs, 4.4 YPA and 80.8 YPG in any season throughout his career so far. He has a career-long run of 80 yards.
Peterson's career-best single-game rushing total of 296 yards ranks as the highest single-game rushing total in NFL history. He also has a 224-yard game on his resume, which ranks 22nd all time.
Some may feel it is too early to include Adrian Peterson on this list. I completely disagree. As I have said before, I value what a RB does in his prime window more than anything else. RBs' prime windows typically last around five years and tend to be towards the beginning of their career. Therefore, we have likely seen the best Peterson has to offer.
He has produced a 1,700-plus rushing yard season. His per game average of 92.5 yards and his 4.8 YPA are both elite career averages. His peak number in both of those categories is special as well. He is a rushing TD machine. The final cherry on top is that 296 rushing yard game against the San Diego Chargers, which is the greatest single-game total of all time.
Peterson has amazing field vision and is the perfect balance of power and speed. I rank him as the 6th best RB in NFL history.
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