Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson? Who Truly Is The Best in the NFL

Spencer TucksenSenior Writer IMay 22, 2010

SEATTLE - JANUARY 03:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans rushes against the Seattle Seahawks on January 3, 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Titans defeated the Seahawks 17-13. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Hello everybody....this article is literally my first non-slide show since...my fourth article or so. It has been so long!

That's why I wanted it to be on a subject I am deeply concerned about. As of late, the Adrian Peterson/Chris Johnson debate has been stirred up a bit more. There has been much argument and fighting throughout Bleacher Report in the past week or two. I am here to defend Adrian Peterson. He has gotten a bad rap because of his fumbles and now that is all people talk about.

Let's get to the article!

Personally...I am going to just come out and say it. I dislike Chris Johnson as a player. Overall...he has gotten by ONLY on his speed and offensive lineman. All he does is get pitches outside and just outrun everyone. If he doesn't do that, his wonderful rushing line will step it up tossing the defensive line around like rag dolls opening up holes the size of a Volkswagen for Chris to run through.

He also has the other terrifying running option in Vince Young to scare defenders, so there is almost always a spy or two on Vince. I guarantee you that when they use play action, the defense is waiting to see if it is a boot for Young to run with.

If that wasn't enough, the Titans have a number of good blocking receivers and tight ends including Alge Crumpler, Justin Gage, and so on. He has everything going for him.

Some might say the same thing about good ol' "All Day" correct? If you ask ANY Vikings fan, you will hear them tell you about how Adrian had to break tackles BEFORE the line of scrimmage on most plays. yes, the line was a very good one a few years ago, but the team got old fast.

They went from one of the best lines in football to crippling Brett Favre and ruining Adrian Peterson's reputation. Steve Hutchinson's far past his prime and Bryant McKinnie isn't doing his job anymore. This last year, Adrian Peterson had to break through tackles behind the LINE OF SCRIMMAGE! Ask just about any Vikings fan and you will see the truth.

There are a few other things that hurt him this year.....EVERYTHING HURT. He was actually playing injured through most of the season. He was having some ankle and knee issues making it more difficult to power through tacklers.

Everyone is always so quick to get on him about his fumbles. But, when you think about it, it comes up differently. If you count Adrian Peterson's fumbles vs. Chris Johnson's, fumbles you will find:

Adrian Peterson: six fumbles, five lost

Chris Johnson:     three fumbles, three lost


Let's count those as lost points. Let's try taking away a touchdown for every fumble.


Adrian Peterson: Touchdown total before: 18. Total after: 13 (just counting lost)

Chris Johnson:    Touchdown total before: 14. Total after: 11


Adrian still has more, so that, in my opinion, makes the fumble argument null and void.

Next thing is yards. Oh yes, the yards. That is what Chris Johnson has become famous for. He was the first person since Terrell Davis to surpass the 2,000 mark. He also has been lighting up the gridiron with 3,234 yards in just his first two seasons. Very impressive but there is one thing I must say...what good are yards if they don't lead to points? You get 2,000 yards, there should be plenty of scoring, yet the Titans were nowhere near leading in touchdowns scored....peculiar to me.

I am thinking that he is possibly the best in the NFL...BETWEEN THE 20'S.

He is fantastic for getting you almost all the way, but when do you really need a running back? You need a running back who will get it done on the three yard line. You need someone who can power through there and get that score. Chris Johnson did no such thing.

Adrian Peterson has done quite possibly the most a third year running back has done since LT's first years in the NFL. In just three years in Minnesota he has become the number seven all-time rusher in team history. He could very well be first by the closing of next season.  He has earned himself 4,484 yards at a steady five yards per carry.

He is number 14 ranked on the team's scoring list. In just another three or four seasons....he could be second all time. He is on such a pace that if he were to play for ten seasons...he would have 133 rushing touchdowns. That is, as you should obviously know, a Hall of Fame pace.

He would actually be even higher if Chester Taylor hadn't been getting some carries. If no one has noticed Taylor was the third-down back so he snagged plenty of the receptions that Adrian Peterson is said to be incapable of getting. Third down is, for a number of schemes, a passing down. You could do a screen, out route, just about anything for a running back.

That's a big reason why some backs have so many receptions...because they are in on third downs. Adrian Peterson still succeeded with his two-down territory and got the job done there. Just imagine, if you will, how much gaudier his stats would be if he had been the third-down back this whole time.

IF you were to extrapolate Adrian's stats to include at least half of Chester Taylor's stats off of third downs (at the very least), you would get over the past two seasons much better stats. Please note these are based off of his average yards per carry on each season:

2008: Adrian could reach 2,000 yards rushing easily. He originally had 1,760 but I think he could easily have managed that 240 with another 40 or so carries. But anyway, back to his stats.

2,010 yards, 12 touchdowns, 262 yards receiving, and one more touchdown

2009: While it was a great season anyway, he could have done better without Chester Taylor taking the extra carries and receptions away. Just look at his stats!

1,726 yards, 21 touchdowns, 704 yards receiving, and one extra touchdown

That shows that many a great thing can happen to two-down backs. If AP had been given the ball on all three downs, he could have just completely exploded.

Chris Johnson is a great player in my eyes, but he is not the best I have ever seen. I believe that Adrian is the better player. He is much stronger, he blocks better, runs better between the tackles, and everything.

Yes, Chris Johnson could probably smoke AP in a race...but Adrian Peterson is faster than the defense anyway. Does it matter how much faster you can be at that point? He has the instincts and basically everything. If only he had the incredible line Johnson had...he would be the undisputed best running back in the NFL.

Thank you everybody for reading my article. I appreciate the support and kindness you have given me, leading to my promotion to Analyst. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. Don't be afraid to comment and tell me what YOU think, as the reader and opinionated Bleacher Report community member!


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.