tobypetersonI make a grocery list every week. Actually, it’s pretty much the same list. I keep it on my iPhone — a list of staples I generally need to buy every week. Then I can add things to it, but the base list stays the same. You could argue I should remember it by now, but I almost always bring my daughter with me. It’s a thing we do. She’s fun, but she’s a major grocery distraction. It’s good to have a reminder.

So: it’s a good system, but it’s pretty boring. If I was going to really liven things up, I would probably do this: turn the grocery list into a weekly ranking of things I’m most excited to buy. That list, too, would be kind of static. For instance, ham would almost always be near the top; bread would be a bottom-feeder. But I buy enough different things every week that a grocery power ranking of sorts could be intriguing.

Why is this? Why does a list become so much more interesting when, instead of just writing a bunch of things down in any order, you make it a RANKING and assign value? Probably because we all have the desperate need to compare and feel valued — to have winners and losers. As such, a list of all the running backs is BORING. But a list of the top 10 running backs in the NFL, even if it’s just the opinion of an writer trying to fill a slow day, is EXCITING.

And so: Here’s Doug Farrar’s list of the top 10 running backs in the NFL. Go ahead and click the link. Then keep scrolling. And scrolling. Did you find Adrian Peterson yet? No? Keep scrolling. Did he leave AP off the list completely!? What an outra- … no, there he is. Number 10. Number 10? Number 10. What do we think about that? Well first, here’s part of what is written:

The great unknown. Should Peterson be higher on this list, given his amazing career accomplishments, and the fact that he ran for nearly 1,300 yards in 2013? The year off due to off-field issues will have some wondering about his conditioning, while others will say that it gives him a new lease on life from a physical perspective. One thing’s for sure: Peterson turned 30 in March, and that’s a bad place to be for any running back. The Vikings re-worked his contract in late July — they’re giving him $20 million guaranteed, so they certainly believe that he’s still got it.

So Farrar seems conflicted about where he puts Peterson, but not enough so to put him above the likes of Lamar Miller and Justin Forsett — guys who could be labeled as pedestrian or at least not nearly as accomplished as Peterson.

Then again, it does seem to be a list refreshingly grounded in foresight instead of hindsight. If anything, ultimately it’s a reminder of what an unknown this 2015 version of Peterson is — and what a fascinating case study about rust, motivation and the sands of time this will be.

I welcome your comments on Peterson’s spot on the list and what would be in your grocery store top five.

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