NFL

Adrian Peterson Says Marshawn Lynch Is 2nd-Best RB in NFL

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 03:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the second half against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Jon Durr/Getty Images
Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2016

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson missed 15 games in 2014 while serving a suspension, yet he won the NFL's rushing title with 1,485 yards this season.

It's hard to argue that he's not the best running back in the NFL.

If so, then who is No. 2?

According to Peterson, that title belongs to his counterpart on the field Sunday, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, per Ben Goessling of ESPN.com:

I remember coming out [of college] with him. We trained together in Arizona, and I knew he was going to be a force to be reckoned with. He's 'Beast Mode' for a reason: He's a physical runner. He plays fast. His lateral movement, cuts, his vision is top of the line. Even though he didn't play much this year, I would say he's probably the second-best back in the league. I'd give it to him, hands-down.

I'm a guy with a little more speed. I don't think he's got the same jump-cut as me. But his lateral movement, his ability to get through guys is amazing.

Peterson made some good points, but if you looked only at Lynch's 2015 season, it would be hard to tell. The five-time Pro Bowler had just 111 attempts, 417 yards and three touchdowns while missing nine games because of an abdomen injury.

However, his past four seasons, which earned him a spot in four Pro Bowls and two touchdown titles, seem to back up Peterson's claim:

Marshawn Lynch 2011-2014 Average Season Stats
GPATTYardsYPATD
15.8295.31,339.34.512
Pro-Football-Refernence.com

If Lynch, who has been a full participant in practice this week, is back for the playoffs, it could be huge for the Seahawks, per NFL on ESPN:

Of course, there are up-and-coming running backs such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Doug Martin, whose 1,402 yards were second to only Peterson, and the St. Louis Rams' Todd Gurley, who was third with 1,106 yards in his rookie campaign.

Martin is nearly three years younger than the 29-year-old Lynch, who is eight years older than the 21-year-old Gurley.

However, Peterson's statement could be a sign of respect for his playoff opponent more than anything. Or perhaps he just didn't want to give any bulletin-board material to Lynch and the Seahawks heading into their Wild Card Round tilt.

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