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NFL Power Rankings: Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and the Top 10 Running Backs

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2011

NFL Power Rankings: Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and the Top 10 Running Backs

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    In the National Football League, it takes a lot to be a running back. Opposing defenses get bigger, faster and stronger each season, resulting in many teams turning to the recently popular two-back attack. However, some of the running backs in the NFL are alone in their respective backfields, and continue to produce year in and year out.

    With the upcoming season quickly approaching, let's take a look at the top 10 running backs in the NFL, complete with highlight videos!

Frank Gore- San Francisco 49ers

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    Since 2005, Miami native Frank Gore has pounded his way through opposing defenses in the NFL, despite playing behind a dismal offensive line in a lackluster offense.

    Either way, Gore constantly eclipses the 1,000-yard mark, and makes opposing defenses cringe with his powerful running style. 

    Last year, he was limited due to injuries, but managed 853 yards on 203 carries, scoring three times in 11 games. 

DeAngelo Williams- Carolina Panthers

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    DeAngelo Williams is part of one of the most potent rushing attacks in the NFL, where he shares carries with Jonathan Stewart. Both backs are capable of being starters on any team in the league.

    Williams, a six-year veteran, displays explosiveness and speed that consistently allows him huge yards and multiple trips to the end zone. He recently re-signed with the Panthers for a huge deal, despite appearing in just six games last season. 

    He has rushed 841 times for 4,211 yards and 31 touchdowns in his career. 

Steven Jackson- St. Louis Rams

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    For the past seven seasons, Steven Jackson has been the lone bright spot for a despicable offense in St. Louis, and he helped ease quarterback Sam Bradford into his starting role.

    Forced to replace Marshall Faulk, Jackson has been an absolute beast out of the backfield, trucking defenders en route to 1,000-yard season after 1,000-yard season.

    Last year, the 28-year-old out of Oregon State had 330 carries for 1,241 yards, scoring six times. In his career he has over 1,800 carries for roughly 8,000 yards and 47 touchdowns, while producing as a receiver out of the backfield, catching 327 passes for 2,670 yards and seven touchdowns.  

Michael Turner- Atlanta Falcons

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    Michael Turner had a disappointing 2009 season, after rushing for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2008. However, he bounced back in the 2010 season, rushing for 1,371 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Turner is a bruiser who uses a rare combination of strength and speed to beat down on opposing defenses. At 30 years old, the "Burner" still can run with the best of the best, and is one of the lone workhorse backs left in the league, scoring 45 touchdowns in his seven year career with the San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons

Maurice Jones-Drew- Jacksonville Jaguars

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    In his first season not sharing carries with former Jaguars great Fred Taylor, the medicine ball, Maurice Jones-Drew bulldozed his way to his first 1,000 yard season in the NFL.

    The 5'7" Jones-Drew rushed 312 times for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns while catching 53 passes for 374 yards and another touchdown. Last year, he was nagged with injuries but still managed to gain 1,324 yards on 299 carries, finding the end zone five times. 

    He is always a threat out of the backfield as he has caught at least 34 passes a year for the tenure of his career, reeling in 330 passes for 1,241 yards and six scores.

    If the Jaguars can keep Jones-Drew fresh, he could be a premier back in the league for a long time.

Arian Foster- Houston Texans

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    Before last season, Arian Foster was expected to back up rookie running back Ben Tate and Steve Slaton. Instead, he led the entire National Football League in rushing, gaining 1,616 yards on 327 carries, scoring 16 touchdowns. 

    The 6'1 227-pound undrafted free agent proved himself as a threat out of the backfield catching 66 passes for 604 yards and two touchdowns. 

    Still, he has only had one great year of production and can't be higher on this list until he can repeat his 2010 success. 

Ray Rice- Baltimore Ravens

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    Ray Rice started earning a reputation in the 2009 season, despite being in a crowded Baltimore Ravens backfield featuring former first-round draft pick Willis McGahee and fullback Le'Ron McClain.

    His display of versatility, speed and explosiveness in both the run and passing game earned him the starting role, after catching 78 passes for 702 yards and rushing for 1,339 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Last year, he continued to impress, carrying the ball 307 times for 1,220 yards and five touchdowns.

Jamaal Charles- Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jamaal Charles exploded onto the scene in the Kansas City Chiefs late in the 2009 season in a victory over the Oakland Raiders.

    Rushing 18 times for 103 yards and a touchdown, Charles earned himself the starting job, and took just seven weeks to reach 1,000 yards.

    Charles carried the ball only 190 times, but managed to gain 1,100 yards and scored seven touchdowns in just eight starts.

    Last season, Charles continued his dominance, rushing just 112 times and gaining over 1,000 yards again, scoring five times. He has a career yards-per-carry average of 6.0

Chris Johnson- Tennessee Titans

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    Chris Johnson had an absolutely amazing 2009 campaign, shredding opposing defenses week in and week out, gaining 100 yards in 12 games, and gaining close to 200 all-purpose yards almost every week.

    Johnson rushed 358 times for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns. Johnson also led the league in rushes, gaining more than 20 yards, with 22!

    He also added 50 receptions for 508 yards and two more touchdowns. 

    In the past three years, he has led the league in rushing with 4,598 yards on 925 carries, while scoring 34 touchdowns. 

    Regardless of his holdout situation, Johnson is still one of the best running backs in the league. 

Adrian Peterson- Minnesota Vikings

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    Adrian Peterson is entering his fifth season in the NFL as one of the most feared weapons in all of the league. The former Sooner runs through defenders and always finds his way onto theSportsCenter Top 10 Plays of the Week.

    In his five years as a Minnesota Viking, Peterson has carried the ball 1,198 times for 5,782 yards, scoring 52 touchdowns in 61 games. He is a true workhorse, power back. The one knock on Peterson's game is his fumbling, but he seems to have been coached up to hold on to the football.

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