Adrian Peterson’s newly renegotiated contract runs through the 2017 season, when he’ll be 32 years old. Very few running backs are able to play well at that age.
But Peterson thinks he’ll still be in his prime at 32. And for a few years after that.
“I don’t see the end,” Peterson told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “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.”
Realistically, that’s almost impossible. No 36 or 37-year-old in NFL history has had a 1,000-yard rushing season. Marcus Allen is the only player to even top 500 rushing yards at the age of 37. Even at age 33 it’s very, very rare for a running back to remain at a high level; Hall of Famers John Henry Johnson, Jon Riggins and Franco Harris are the only players to rush for 1,000 yards after their 33rd birthdays.
Peterson is suggesting, at age 30, that he still has eight more high-level seasons left in him. Peterson is 8,165 yards behind Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record, so if he’s right, he’s going to retire as the top rusher in NFL history.