Wasting his talents?
Peterson has 3,305 yards rushing in his past 28 regular-season games. But as a team, the Vikings are 13-14-1 in those 28 games. He was asked whether his greatness has been wasted on a team that can’t find a franchise quarterback to help him.
“I’m not going to say that,” he said. “You look at this year. We could have a totally different record. We could be getting ready for the postseason if things would have gone just a little different in a couple of games. So I’m not going to sit here and say I feel my talent is being wasted here. There are guys on this team that I feel like can help us get to a championship. All the pieces have to be right, but, no, I don’t feel like my talent is getting wasted.”
Look out, Emmitt
In 2000, Robert Smith ran for 1,521 yards for what was then a Vikings team record. Peterson is on pace to top that mark twice in back-to-back seasons after major surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee.
Peterson had 2,097 yards — second-most in NFL history behind Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 — and 1,208 this year. At his current pace this year, Peterson would finish with 1,611, which would be the most ever by a running back the year after rushing for 2,000 yards.
For his career, Peterson is 8,299 yards from surpassing Emmitt Smith’s league record. At his current pace — 99.6 yards per game — Peterson would need 84 more games to do it. Assuming the league maintains its 16-game schedule, that projects to the 2018 season finale. Peterson would be 33.
“I’ll get there sooner,” Peterson said. “Why? Just because of my determination. Not because I have that as a set goal that I’m trying to reach. It’s something I want to reach. I definitely want Emmitt’s record. But it’s not continuously on my mind.
“What’s going to get me there is God’s willingness for me staying healthy, first and foremost, and my work ethic. It’s really working your body. The body can do so much, but you got to be able to push it to discover what it can really do.”
Who’s the best, Coach?
One of Peterson’s biggest fans is Vikings coach Leslie Frazier. But, sorry, Adrian, Frazier can only go so far in his praise. The greatest running back of all time, at least in Frazier’s mind, is Walter Payton, Frazier’s former teammate with the Bears.
“[Frazier] tells me how I remind him of Walter, how we have some of the same style and how close I am to being better than Walter was,” Peterson said. “He’s kind of biased because they played together. But I’m only in my seventh year. Walter played 13 years. I’m able to respect the years he put in and what he did. So being that close to Walter Payton? I can live with that.”
Asked who he thinks is the best running back of all time, Peterson said, “Barry Sanders. And Walter Payton.”
Sorry, Adrian. You only get one pick.
“But they got different styles,” he said. “And some people say Jim Brown. But I put Jim Brown on a different level because it’s a different era than Walter Payton and Barry Sanders.
“Walter Payton, he ran the ball like me: physical, fast, could beat you with speed and power. But Barry Sanders was just so nice with it. I got to go with Barry Sanders.”
Who’s the fastest running back Peterson has seen?
“Probably Bo Jackson,” Peterson said.