Peterson Plans On Playing Long Enough To Break All-Time Rushing Record
No sooner had he announced that he would again be donning the purple and gold of the Minnesota Vikings for 2015 had Adrian Peterson disclosed some pretty lofty expectations for the rest of his career. The star running back told reporters he plans on planning at least another seven or eight seasons, culminating in topping Emmett Smith for the NFL’s all-time rushing record.
“I don’t think it’s impossible,” Peterson told Minnesota’s Pioneer Press over the weekend. “[Smith] played fifteen years. I’m going into year nine but I’ve only got eight on the body,” referencing his involuntary stint away from football in the midst of last season’s ugly child abuse allegations. “[Breaking the rushing record] is a long-term goal.”
But there is a reason why Smith’s gargantuan achievement is considered the toughest record in football to break. Running back is easily the league’s most physically demanding position, and NFL history is littered with many talented backs who retired incredibly early due to the exhausting nature of their job.
Legends like Barry Sanders and Jim Brown, who sit 3rd and 9th on the all-time ladder respectively, both retired before their thirtieth birthday. Peterson, meanwhile, turned thirty in March, and is only the 29th back to eclipse 10,000 rushing yards in his career. The only active players with more yardage are Steven Jackson (16th all-time) and Frank Gore (20th), and with both players being older than Peterson, their inevitable decline is already starting to show.
Peterson needs another 8166 yards to pip Smith for first place. Assuming he plays another seven seasons, he’ll need to rack up almost 1200 yards per season to take the mantle. That kind of career-long production would be absolutely unheard of for any running back, let alone one as old as Peterson if he manages to play long enough.
The man’s physical fitness is out of the stratosphere, we’ll concede that much. After suffering a torn ACL and MCL that kept him on the sidelines in December 2011, he didn’t only return on opening day the following season, but earned NFL MVP honors for a season that fell only nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. A whole year out of the game last year for non-injury related matters can’t hurt either, but Father Time may prove to be one opponent AD isn’t capable of running over.