Adrian Peterson Wants to Play 3 or 4 More Years, Be Best RB Ever

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2018

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Running back Adrian Peterson #26 of the Washington Redskins rushes the football against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Redskins defeated the Cardinals 24-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Washington running back Adrian Peterson isn't listening to the outside noise—he believes he still has plenty of football ahead.

"Three to four more years would be ideal," Peterson said, per ESPN's John Keim. "Not to say it hasn't been done before, but not at a high level. So of course I plan on playing three to four more years, and I plan on playing those years at a high level as well."

While many think he is past his prime, the veteran believes he can still put the finishing touches on a legendary career.

"The best player ever to play is my mindset," Peterson said, according to Keim. "Being able to sit back and say I had a great time playing the game I love and I won a world championship and I was the best at my position."

Peterson was once the best running back in the league, making seven Pro Bowls and taking home an NFL MVP award while rushing for 2,097 yards in 2012, just eight yards shy of the all-time record.

However, injuries have taken their toll throughout the years. He tore his ACL in 2011 and also suffered a torn meniscus in 2016. Last year, a neck injury played a role in him appearing in just 10 games between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals.

Entering the 2018 season, he had played in just 13 contests over the past two campaigns.

As Washington saw a number of its running backs injured during the preseason, the team signed Peterson to carry the load out of the backfield. He ran for 96 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in a 24-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, adding 70 yards on two receptions as well.

His critics may point to his age as a sign of decline, but given his injury history, Peterson himself believes he has less wear and tear than players of his age typically may have. And that's why he feels he can still be the best running back in the league.

"Being out two years, but coming off the injury in Minnesota and the injury last year, of course there's a lot that I have to prove in order to be able to show that," Peterson said, per Keim. "Inside, I know that I feel I am. It's just about doing it for a full season."

Peterson once appeared as though he would challenge the all-time rushing record, as he ran for 11,747 yards in 10 seasons in Minnesota. But after rushing for just 72 yards in 2016 and 529 yards last year, he entered this season more than 6,000 yards back of Emmitt Smith's record of 18,355 rushing yards.

And yes, he still believes he can reach that mark.

"I feel like it’s realistic you know very realistic," Peterson said on the PFTPM podcast (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk). "In the great words of Kevin Garnett, 'Anything is possible.' So that’s how I view it. If I'm to continue to have success, stay injury-free and play three to four more years and I definitely see myself claiming that title and in order to achieve something you have to believe it, you know? So I’m a believer."

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