Vikings vs. San Diego: The back story

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2007 - 2:40 PM

LaDainian Tomlinson is the NFL's best running back. Adrian Peterson might be the next great one. Only time will tell.

SAN DIEGO — Walter Payton and his Chicago Bears were doing their Super Bowl Shuffle in 1985 as a little boy in Waco, Texas, was taking mental notes and telling family members that he, too, would grow up to be a star running back in the National Football League.

"Walter Payton ... man, he was the greatest," said LaDainian Tomlinson, the little boy who became simply "LT," the best all-purpose back in the league today. "As early as 5, 6 years old, I've been studying running backs, watching the history of the league. I think you have to. I think if you're going to try to do something great, you need to study the great guys who have come before you."

Like most great running backs, Tomlinson understands the circle of life at that position, and how it has taken us from players such as Bronko Nagurski and Red Grange to Marion Motley. From Jim Brown and Gale Sayers to O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Payton. From Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith to "LT," and, who knows, maybe one day "AD," the Vikings' Adrian "All Day" Peterson. After all, Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 740 yards and is on pace for 1,691, which would be the most by a rookie since Eric Dickerson reached 1,808 24 years ago.

Tomlinson vs. Peterson will be the featured attraction today at the Metrodome when LT's San Diego Chargers (4-3) try to extend their winning streak to four games against a Vikings team that wants to avoid dropping to 2-6 for only the fifth time in franchise history.

Tomlinson is the 28-year-old reigning league MVP and defending rushing champion. Still very much in his prime in his seventh season, the 5-10, 221-pounder broke 13 NFL records last season alone, stands just 207 yards from 10,000 and is tied with Brown for fourth place in career rushing touchdowns (106), four behind Payton for third place. Meanwhile, Peterson, 22, is playing his first professional game in November after sweeping the NFL offensive rookie of the month award for September and October.

"Adrian has a lot of the skills and characteristics, the qualities it takes to be one of the best runners in this league," said Tomlinson, who's fourth in rushing with 617 yards and six touchdowns. "He's still so young, though. We all get so caught up in wanting to compare him to this guy or that guy. That's not really fair to him or those other guys."

But ...

"Having said that, Adrian does have a little Eric Dickerson in him because of the explosion he has to get through the holes," Tomlinson said. "And he's kind of upright, which is why all of us say he's like Eric Dickerson."

And ...

"He also has a little bit of shiftiness like a Gale Sayers," Tomlinson added. "And I'd say Marcus Allen, too. Marcus would move and weave in and out of traffic a lot. I see Adrian do that, too."

As much as we guard against comparing today's young running backs -- even ones who have played only seven games -- to the greats of yesteryear, it's irresistible. Peterson has heard a myriad of comparisons already -- mostly to Dickerson -- but seemed awestruck when told what Tomlinson had said about him.

"Oh, man," Peterson said. "Coming from LT, wow. That's a great, great compliment because you look at LT, and he's been one of the great backs for a long time now."

Texas roots

Tomlinson said he will probably make a point to talk to Peterson before or after today's game.

"If for no other reason, we're both from Texas," said Tomlinson, smiling. "The Texas guys have to stick together, right?"

Peterson, who is from Palestine, has a chance to join an elite fraternity of native Texans. With 660 more yards, he will join Dickerson (Sealy), Campbell (Tyler) and Tomlinson (born in Rosebud) as the only players born in Texas to rush for 1,200 yards in their rookie season.

"Being from Texas, you naturally followed and studied guys like Emmitt Smith, Eddie George, LT, Earl Campbell," Peterson said. "But I was like LT. I could also sit for hours and watch Walter Payton and a guy like Barry Sanders. I sat and studied them. Playing the position, it's fascinating to me to see what they were able to do."

So who does Adrian Peterson remind himself of?

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - D. Hutchison 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Tanaka
Washington - S. Strasburg 12:10 PM
Miami - N. Eovaldi
NY Mets - J. deGrom 12:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Boston - J. Kelly 12:35 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 12:35 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 12:40 PM
Tampa Bay - N. Karns
Cleveland - C. Kluber 1:10 PM
Minnesota - A. Swarzak
Detroit - R. Porcello 1:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Seattle - H. Iwakuma 1:10 PM
Houston - C. McHugh
Los Angeles - J. Wright 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner
Texas - N. Tepesch 2:35 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 3:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong 3:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Arizona - W. Miley 3:10 PM
Colorado - C. Bergman
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 12:30 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 4:00 PM
Washington
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Miss State 34 FINAL
(8) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(14) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(24) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
(22) Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 2:00 PM
Toronto FC
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do on Sunday in New Orleans?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close