The Detroit Lions have one of the greatest runners in NFL history to their credit in Barry Sanders, and with Adrian Peterson, they now have another.
With Peterson coming to the team, Sanders quickly heard the news and decided to reach out to the runner, welcoming him and saying how excited he was to have him in the mix.
— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) September 6, 2020
Ironically enough, Peterson can pass Sanders’ on the all time rushing yards list his season by going for over 1,000 yards this season. While some might think this might be odd or an issue given Peterson’s status as a former Detroit tormentor, it’s obvious Sanders wanted to put that notion to rest quickly.
It will be fun to see these players connect in Detroit this season.
Adrian Peterson NFC North Stats
In his career, Peterson has torched the NFC North, something which the Lions know all too well from years of competing against him. Pro Football Focus showed that in his career running against the division, Peterson had an 89.4 grade overall.
Adrian Peterson’s career grade vs. NFC North opponents: 89.4 pic.twitter.com/KvDefcFeah
— PFF (@PFF) September 6, 2020
That’s not even the half of it in terms of Peterson’s insane production head to head against the division. In total, he’s rushed for 5,185 and 41 touchdowns against his closest competition he had during his career. In terms of damage, Peterson has done the most against the Green Bay Packers, with 1,975 yards and 16 scores in his career.
Obviously, Peterson has tons of miles on his tires, but his resurfacing in the division he torched for years is certainly noteworthy for competition he has gotten to know well and play great against when he’s suited up.
Barry Sanders Stats
To see Sanders run the ball for Lions fans through the years was to believe given what he was able to do with the team on the field. Sanders routinely had the quickness and deft ability to break plenty of ankles on the football field and remains one of the greatest highlights in the game fans love watching even years after his retirement. Athleticism is something that came naturally to Sanders, no matter whether he was on the grass or the hardwood, something that was revealed recently.
With the Lions, Sanders rushed for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. He was routinely thought of as the best running back in the league, and would have shattered plenty of NFL rushing records had he decided to keep playing. Sanders, however, walked away from the game in 1999 on the eve of training camp, which stunned the Lions and all of their fans. The parties then went through a frustrating split for multiple years, based mostly upon the fact that the franchise made him pay back part of his contract amid retirement. It is a situation not unlike what is happening with Calvin Johnson currently.
Adrian Peterson Stats
In his career, Peterson has been one of the more productive backs in football. The 2012 NFL MVP stuck with the Vikings from 2007-2016, then landing with the Saints and Cardinals and finally in Washington for the last 2 seasons. Peterson is a lock to be in the Hall of Fame soon once his career ends given his exploits. The former Oklahoma Sooner is also a 7 time Pro Bowl player and a 4 time first team All-Pro runner as well.
This season, Peterson could make NFL history with the Lions. Peterson’s 14,216 career rushing yards currently ranks fifth all-time, and he trails Barry Sanders’ 15,269 yards. That means Peterson could surpass Sanders this season if he rushes for 1,054 yards at the age of 35 in Detroit.
It would be an interesting post script if Peterson was to play the last years of his career with the Lions and manage to surpass Sanders. That’s especially true given his standing as a long time Lions rival and classic tormentor.
Sanders is on board with Peterson in the mix.
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