Fresh off of the restructuring of his contract that now keeps him in a Vikings uniform through his age-32 season, Adrian Peterson is looking to play even beyond the 2017 season. While speaking to Peter King of MMQB, the 30-year-old running back thinks he has another 7-8 years lefts in him:
“I don’t see the end. Straight up and honest with you, I feel like, and I don’t know if I’ll do this, because I feel like once my mind tells me, you know what, I’m not loving this game anymore, I’ll walk away whenever that time is. But I honestly feel I can play this game until I am 36 or 37 years old. And at a high level.”
Bold. But is anyone going to doubt Adrian Peterson after his 2000-yard season just months after tearing his ACL. Or as Cris Carter infamously, and emotionally, put it, “he shattered his knee in December and played in September.”
This isn’t even the first bold claim by Peterson within the last week. Over the weekend while speaking to the media during move-in day at Vikings training camp, Peterson was asked if he had a number in mind in terms of rushing yards he wanted to gain this year. Peterson responded, “I always keep the mark at 25”. That would be 2500 yards or about 400 yards more than the current record of 2105 yards by Eric Dickerson.
But, getting back to AP playing into his mid-30s, there have been very few instances of running backs being productive at 30, much less 36 or 37. There have been 30 players in NFL history who have posted 1000 yard rushing seasons at 30 or older (most recent was Frank Gore in 2014). Bump the age up to 32 and the number drops to nine players with 1000 yard seasons (most recent was Ricky Williams in 2009). At the age of 34 only John Henry Johnson and John Riggins have reached 1K. No one has done it at 36 or older as Marcus Allen and John Riggins are the only halfbacks who have even played at that age. It would be nearly unprecedented for Peterson to still be playing at that age, much less at a high level.
With the child abuse indictment, the contract squabbles, and the fact that he is a 30-year-old back who hasn’t played in a year, people are still skeptical of Peterson as a person, and a player. As weird as it sounds, that’s good news for Vikings fans as it means an extremely motivated Peterson will hit the ground running….and running for 25.
Ross Kelly is an Associated Producer for CBS Local Sports. He is from Louisiana and is a fan of all sports, but not of any teams (except LSU).