Future Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famer and Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson enters his 14th season as the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history. He has eyes on continuing to climb the list.
Peterson’s 14,216 career rushing yards trail fourth-place Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders’ 15,269 yards in 10 NFL seasons. Peterson is hoping he can surpass Sanders this season.
“That’s definitely one of the goals, passing Barry Sanders would definitely be one of the highlights of my career. What he accomplished, and how I’ve looked up to him, I’ve always wanted to say I did something better than Barry Sanders,” Peterson said on NFL Network.
Peterson, 35, would need to gain 1,054 rushing yards this season, which he hasn’t reached since his final full season with the Vikings in 2015, although, he has come very close recently.
In 2018, Peterson tallied 251 carries for 1,042 rushing yards at the age of 33, spurring a two-year contract extension with the Redskins. In the final year of his deal, this could be Peterson’s last chance at besting Sanders’ record.
Here’s a list of the NFL top 10 career rushing leaders:
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Peterson Proven Durable in D.C.
While Peterson’s explosiveness has diminished in his 30s, he’s become a stable leader in the backfield for the Redskins as their leading rusher and team captain a season ago.
He led Washington in rushing attempts (211), rushing yards (898) and rushing touchdowns (5). Despite the presence of 2017 second-round pick Derrius Guice in the backfield this season, Guice has been injury-prone in his short career after missing 11 games last year and the entire 2018 season after an ACL tear. Peterson appears set for lead back duties as he was listed at the top of the Redskins official depth chart.
Washington recently exercised its club option on Peterson’s contract, guaranteeing Peterson a full season to chase Sanders’ record and — a consolation — eclipsing the 15,000 rushing yards milestone.
Best Moments of Peterson’s Vikings Career
Drafting Adrian Peterson in 2007 helped spark excitement surrounding a Vikings franchise that was experiencing an early 2000s slump after making the postseason seven years in the 90s.
Peterson became the Vikings all-time rushing leader, compiling 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns in his nine years in Minnesota.
Here are a few of the Star Tribune’s picks of his best moments with the Vikings.
Oct. 14, 2007, at Chicago: As a rookie, Adrian Peterson had a couple of 100-yard games at home, but his statement to the league came during his first trip to Soldier Field. He churned out 361 all-purpose yards, including 224 rushing (with three touchdowns), 128 on kickoff returns and 9 receiving. The Vikings staved off the Bears’ comeback when Peterson’s 53-yard return set up a winning field goal in the closing seconds.
Nov. 4, 2007, vs. San Diego: Peterson’s fourth home game was one for the record books. In what could be viewed as an early change of the guard with Chargers legendary running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Peterson outran him for the single-game NFL rushing record in his eighth career start. Peterson’s 296 rushing yards at the Metrodome still has not been topped. He also chipped with in three rushing touchdowns in the victory.
Sept. 13, 2009, at Cleveland: While the Vikings’ magical 2009 season with Brett Favre was not Peterson’s statistical best, he set the tone for their 12-4 year with a dominating season opener at Cleveland. Perhaps no highlight better summarizes Peterson’s Hall of Fame career than the 64-yard touchdown run, in which he ran through one Browns defender, planted a palm on the helmet of another and burst down the sideline to seal the win. He finished with 180 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
25. A SICK RUN
Sept. 13, 2009
Adrian Peterson stiff arms and shoves his way through the Browns defense for a 64-yard TD run.
Factoid: Peterson, who finished with 180 yards and three TDs, vomited at halftime and got pumped with IVs while blood gushed from his left forearm. pic.twitter.com/wvcw9wVItX
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 11, 2019
Dec. 30, 2012, vs. Green Bay: The eventual NFL MVP capped a historic season with 199 rushing yards in a three-point victory over the Packers to clinch a playoff spot for the Vikings. The 27-year-old Peterson, a year removed from a torn ACL, entered the season finale needing 208 rushing yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. He took five carries for 36 yards on the final drive to set up the winning field goal. Peterson settled for 2,097 on the season, becoming only the seventh running back in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards.
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