In my view, Adrian Peterson is the best RB in the NFL, and that’s been the case since the end of his rookie season in 2007. Perhaps my bias in being an employee of the club has been a factor in formulating this opinion, but I feel an objective look at the crop of NFL RBs since Peterson has entered the NFL should yield a similar conclusion.
The numbers say Peterson is the NFL’s best. He leads the NFL in rushing yards (798) and rushing TDs (9) this year, and since 2007 no RB has more rushing yards than Peterson’s 6,580.
Another reason I believe he’s the best RB in the NFL and has been since 2007 is that he continues to overcome challengers to his standing as the best of the best. During his rookie season, LaDainian Tomlinson was considered the best RB in the League. Peterson eventually overcame LT, and actually set a new NFL single-game rushing mark of 296 yards against Tomlinson’s Chargers team in 2007.
Then came Chris Johnson, and many elevated Johnson over Peterson. But now Peterson continues to dominate while Johnson has fallen behind. And now some are touting Bears RB Matt Forte as a challenger to Peterson’s throne as King of NFL RBs. Perhaps Forte will continue his climb and overtake Peterson one day – he is having a monster season after all – but for now Peterson is still the best RB in the League.
ESPN.com’s Mike Sando has come up with a great stat that adds fuel to the fire. According to research cited by Sando, Peterson faces more 8-man defensive fronts than any other RB in the NFL. And he’s still the rushing leader halfway through the 2011 season. Peterson has 59 such rushes for 217 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 134 of those 217 yards — nearly 62 percent — coming after contact, Sando says. Do the math, and you’ll discover that Peterson averages 5.4 yards per carry against opponents when they don’t stack the box against him.
I’m not saying there aren’t other great RBs in the NFL – Forte, Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew and LeSean McCoy are all having great seasons – and I’m not saying Peterson will be the best in the NFL for his entire career. But for now, and since 2007, and even as teams continuously put 8 defenders at the line of scrimmage to stop him, Peterson is the best.
Tags: Adrian Peterson
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