Adrian Peterson: Emmitt Smith’s record is “very realistic”

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Adrian Peterson leapfrogged a pair of Hall of Famers on Sunday. Now sitting at No. 10 on the all-time rushing list, Peterson continues to aspire to jump past nine more.

Yes, Peterson truly wants to surpass Emmitt Smith as the king of all NFL rusher.

“I feel like it’s realistic you know very realistic,” Peterson said in a Tuesday appearance on the #PFTPM 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.”

He’ll need to be a really big believer. Peterson currently has 12,372 yards. That’s 5,983 behind Smith’s 18,355.

Over four years, Peterson will need to average 1,495 per year to close the gap. Over three, it’s an average of 1,994 annually.

So it will likely take four solid years. And maybe parts of a fifth or six year.

Since his MVP season of 2012, during which Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards, Peterson has 3,427 yards. But two of those seasons were largely lost, one due to injury and one to an off-field issue. Injuries and underuse also kept him at only 529 total yards in 2017.

It remains a very tall order, and I remain completely unwilling to bet against one of the most talented and determined players in NFL history.

“I mean the guy’s incredible,” Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters on Wednesday, four days before his Colts try to contain Peterson. “Truly one of the greatest of all time [and he’s] just such an exciting and electric player. He still has that elusiveness and his inside running ability, the jump cut stuff that he’s always had. I mean, I just think this guy is one of the true all-time greats.”

He definitely is. And he’s unwilling to concede a fight that many would assume is already over. Those who assume that undoubtedly will further fuel Peterson to eventually prove them all wrong.

51 responses to “Adrian Peterson: Emmitt Smith’s record is “very realistic”

  1. Peterson is 33 years old and last year showed that he simply isn’t the player he once was. One game with 96 yards rushing does not translate into a 1,500 yard season, especially when those 96 yards came in the first game of the season and against Arizona. By the way it took 26 carries to rack up those 96 yards, that is only 3.7 yards per carry, no way he catches Smith.

  2. You mean Walter Payton’s?

    I’ll never recognize that no talent lard from the Cowboys because he ran behind some of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history. Hootie from the Blowfish could have surpassed Payton’s record running behind those Cowboys lines.

    Oh and he also had Aikman and Irvin the whole time.

    Payton spent most of his career with supporting casts of Bob Avelini, Brian Baschnagel, and Dennis Lick.

  3. It’s great to set the bar high for yourself, but this is an extremely tall order. Emmitt Smith set that record on longevity that was unheard of at the running back position (before or since), and he did so during an era where dual-back systems largely did not exist.

    I certainly wish him luck, but I think realistically he needs another 8 years to break that record when considering injuries, dual back systems, etc. At 33 years old right now, that seems pretty unlikely.

  4. Let’s not forget Emmitt’s stat padding two years in Arizona. Old Emmitt knew the way to keep a record is to pile on some junk yards at the end.
    AD lost a year in his prime to Goodell. To Smith’s credit and or luck, I don’t remember any knee or ankle injuries.

  5. Emit got lucky to be behind that sick O-line for all those years. Most overrated RB ever. Barry Danders was 10 times the RB Emmitt ever was.


  7. For those who say this is a pipe dream, you need to remember that Emmitt played for 30 years. He is not the best RB in history. Just the longest serving. AP can do it. Hell give it enough years anyone can.

  8. I’m too young never saw Jim Brown, but in my opinion Walter Payton was the greatest football player of my lifetime, non-qb at least. Lawrence Taylor & Jerry Rice played positions that are a lot easier to be great at than Payton the RB. And he returned kicks too, and played in an era that was much more physical than today. Better than Sanders, way more of a complete back. Way better than Emmitt, without the supporting cast. AP is a great one, but he isn’t at Payton’s level

  9. It ain’t happening, but I admire his drive. Hopefully he ages like Marcus Allen or Frank Gore. He’s been fun to watch.

  10. Gore gets very close to 3 and Adrian ends up 5th. 1. emmit 2. Walter 3-4 Sanders Gore 5. Peterson. They’ll both be out of the league in 2020 and in the HOF 2026.

  11. We all know Barry Sanders is the real rushing champion. He would have slaughtered Emmitt’s record if he didn’t retire with 5-8 years worth of gas in the tank. Emmitt had to spend his last year’s shamelessly lurching for every last inch in Arizona.

  12. These weak Cowbruh fans are delusional! I’m not even a Lions fan but everyone who doesn’t have the misfortune of rooting for that pathetic Dallas team knows clear as day that the best running back since Walter Payton is Barry Sanders. Emmitt Smith deserves credit for knowing how to run behind a great O-line and for knowing how to pat his stats. However there is ZERO arguments on who’s is the best RB of that era. It’s Mr Barry Sanders. I can have a debate with you about Dickerson, and some other guys like Tomlinson when you get to his time frame, but in every person’s eyes who is at least 30 years old by now we all clearly know that Emmitt was an average back on a great team. Barry Sanders was an absolute monster and a once in a generation type player. Trying to even mention Smith in the same sentence as Mr. Barry Smith is not only a joke but just shows how little you know about the history of the league. Thank you Barry, it was a privilege to watch a truly great RB play

  13. as a back he was always one-dimensional in an era where RBs were beginning to diversify;

    like Peyton—who was hardly the pillar of innocence, truth and light he is made out to be—Peterson owes his records much, much more to perseverance than talent;

    as a person, Peterson is reprehensible, like so many others he will join in the HOF one day, players and management (see Rozelle, Pete and the most recent induction class);

    that said, there is no way his body or legs would stand up to the 15-20 touches per game punishment of a feature back even one more season, let alone three or four, but then, like so many of his contemporaries, he was always delusional;

  14. Not only will Peterson not break Emmitt’s record, he won’t even catch Frank Gore who is also still playing and about 1700 yards ahead of A.P.

  15. How dare a player have goals…I’m assuming all of you expert commentors knocking Peterson are the same kind of guys who bash players for not playing with enough mental toughness too?

  16. The 19898 Dallas Cowboys had the following: Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Hershel Walker, Daryl Johnston, Mark Tuinei, Kevin Gogan, Nate Newton, and Mark Stepnoski. They went 1 -15 with those players and the fans couldn’t wait to get rid of all of them. Emmitt Smith arrives and suddenly everybody is going to the probowl. I remember how when it was time for a new contract and Smith was out for the first two games of the season they lost them and everyone looked bad.You didn’t watch the games if you think Emmitt was just the result of his supporting cast. They won games without Troy but didn’t win much without Emmitt.

  17. .
    he has to be a starter for 3-4 years which isnt going to happen.
    the present job is limited to what 4 weeks??

  18. Seems unlikely but will be a interesting to watch it play out.

    Probably the best comparable would be Marcus Allen. He lost half a season to a strike, then a season to a knee injury, then lost a couple of more years due to Al Davis being Al Davis. But in his later years he stayed productive (but not dominant…) until age 37.

    But even though Allen was known as a great short yardage back, his overall style wasn’t nearly as physical as AP’s is.

  19. neverbeshaken says:
    September 13, 2018 at 12:38 am
    We all know Barry Sanders is the real rushing champion. He would have slaughtered Emmitt’s record if he didn’t retire with 5-8 years worth of gas in the tank.


    5-8 years? He was gonna stay healthy and continue juking out NFL athletes until age 36 to 39???

    FWIW, Jim Brown averaged more yards per game than Sanders did, and more yards per carry, too. If you are going to play the “if they had played longer” game and make assumptions about future productivity…

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