If you’ve come to the conclusion that Adrian Peterson’s career is being wasted amid a comical collection of quarterbacks, you are not alone.
That said, what you might not know is this: Peterson isn’t alone, either. In taking a look at running backs ranked in the top 10 all-time in terms of rushing yards, we found several cases where top backs were often paired with less-than-ideal QB situations. Here are five examples, all of whom are in the top seven all-time for yards rushing:
• Walter Payton: Sweetness got his ring late in his career while playing with Jim McMahon, probably the most useful QB the Bears offered him. Some of the other mortals he toiled alongside: Bob Avellini, Mike Phipps, Vince Evans, Mike Tomczak and Steve Fuller.
• Barry Sanders: Poor Barry. Just look at this list of the primary signal-callers during his career with the Lions: Bob Gagliano, Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer, Dave Krieg, Scott Mitchell and Charlie Batch.
• Curtis Martin: He had the benefit of playing with Pro Bowler Drew Bledsoe early in his career in New England. But once he went to the Jets, it was mostly a combination of Vinny Testaverde, Ray Lucas, Chad Pennington and Brooks Bollinger.
• Jerome Bettis: He played with a floundering post-prime Jim Everett, an average Chris Miller and even T.J. Rubley early in his career with the Rams. With the Steelers, it was Tomczak (there he is again), Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox before Bettis got to play with Ben Roethlisberger late in his career and got his ring.
• Eric Dickerson: Played with Vince Ferragamo, Jeff Kemp, Dieter Brock and a rookie Everett with the Rams. He got Jack Trudeau, Chris Chandler and Jeff George (a disaster with the Colts) in Indianapolis. His late-career QBs with the Raiders and Falcons were equally unheralded.
Translation: This list of 10 starting QBs Peterson has played with is far from ideal, but it’s also far from uncommon: Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Bollinger, Gus Frerotte, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman.
And we dare say Favre is the best quarterback on this entire page.