Adrian Peterson targeting all-time rushing record

Brian Tinsman
September 14, 2018 - 12:16 am

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


In Week 1, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson looked like he could play for another four or five years. And in order to reach his lofty goals, he'll need to.

That's because Peterson isn't worried about being a Hall of Famer--he's already got that. He isn't worried about Pro Bowls, MVP awards and rushing titles, except for the one that many said couldn't be broken: the all-time rushing yards record.

Emmitt Smith has that at 18,355 yards. Peterson needs 5,983 to match him, and sounds pretty determined to do it.

"I feel like it’s realistic, y'know, very realistic," Peterson told the Pro Football Talk podcast. "In the great words of Kevin Garnett, 'Anything is possible.' So that’s how I view it. If I’m to continue to have success, stay injury-free and play three to four more years and I definitely see myself claiming that title and in order to achieve something you have to believe it, you know? So I’m a believer."

As Florio points out, a three-year average to eclipse the mark would be 1,994 yards per season. Four years would be an average of 1,495 yards per year.

Peterson is on a short list of NFL running backs to eclipse 2,000 yards in a season, but that was in 2012. His high-water mark since then was 1,485 yards in 2015, and he hasn't cracked 600 yards in a season since.

Indeed, Peterson has had a remarkable career already, complete with his share of comebacks. But his biggest challenge this time around might be the success of the team around him. Alex Smith is a Pro Bowl quarterback with a host of quality receivers, which Peterson never had in Minnesota. He also shares a backfield with Chris Thompson, who will get his touches.

Peterson also plays at a position that has been devalued in the age of "running back by committee." He will have to convince teams that he is worth more at the veteran minimum than several youngsters with less raw talent.

But after watching him pick up the Redskins offense and seize the starting job after three days of practice, then wild on the Cardinals in Week 1, why should anyone not be a believer?

Peterson leapfrogged Marshall Faulk and Jim Brown in Week 1, landing at 10th on the all-time list (12,372). Next up is Tony Dorsett at 12,739 career yards.


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