Adrian Peterson’s goal: Move past Barry Sanders in career rushing yards

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Washington running back Adrian Peterson has an eye on the career rushing leaderboard as he heads into his 14th season.

Peterson is currently fifth in NFL history with 14,216 career rushing yards. In fourth place is Barry Sanders, who had 15,269 yards in his 10 NFL seasons. Peterson hopes he can top Sanders this year.

“That’s definitely one of the goals, passing Barry Sanders would definitely be one of the highlights of my career. What he accomplished, and how I’ve looked up to him, I’ve always wanted to say I did something better than Barry Sanders,” Peterson said on NFL Network.

Topping Sanders this year would require Peterson to gain 1,054 yards this season, and that would be a tall order: Peterson hasn’t gained that many yards in any season since 2015. Peterson, who turned 35 this offseason, may have to play until he’s 36 to move ahead of Sanders.

55 responses to “Adrian Peterson’s goal: Move past Barry Sanders in career rushing yards

  1. Go Adrian Go!! I believe he can do it if given the opportunity. However, I don’t think he will get enough touches. He has been a great joy to watch. I love his desire to keep performing at a high level, one of the only bright spots for the Skins lately. HTTR

  2. Sanders left with gas still in the tank. He was 30 when he left. He had a chance to top Walter Payton. Records were not that important to him.

  3. Love Peterson, but I have doubts that he’ll catch Barry over the next two seasons. It’s nice to have goals though.

  4. Surpassing Barry in 14-15 seasons is not the same as surpassing Barry in 10 seasons.

  5. Sanders retired when he was still at the top of the mountain and put up insane numbers just like Jim Brown. Taking half a decade longer to surpass those numbers is not the same thing and definitely not doing something better. But hey, at least were talking about a talent like Adrian Peterson and not a severely hyped up journeyman like Gore.

  6. But you haven’t done it better Adrian, you will have played four more seasons to reach that number. Had Barry played four more years, he’d have had another 5,000-6,000 yards.

  7. Peterson was one of the best, if not the best, running back in the league for his first 8 years. He still has some skills left and may get past Sanders.

    If he and Gore retire the same year and are both eligible for the HOF in the same year, I would think he gets in before Gore, who was steady but only had one outstanding year (2006).

    The fact its taking guys like Peterson and Gore 14-15 years to beat what Sanders did in 10 years just shows you how good Sanders was.

  8. “I’ve always wanted to say I did something better than Barry Sanders.”
    Gaining more yards in 15 seasons to top what Barry did in 10 seasons isn’t doing something better – he’s just been around longer.

  9. Peterson has always been more enamored with personal achievements and stats over team goals his whole career.
    This is just simply more of the same.

  10. Hard to say you did something better when it took you 5-6 more years. Sanders walked away at the top of his game; AP is just hanging on.

  11. The man sets goals for himself and then works hard to reach them. Commendable…..but still needs to be a good parent.

  12. The trinity of running backs will always be Barry Sanders (son), Jim Brown (father), and Walter Payton (holy spirit).

  13. Hope he does it since if he does it will help my wife’s poor Redskins and they need all the help they can get. It will be interesting to see how they do under a new and greatly improved coaching staff and with their very good Defense. Now about that Offense….

  14. Payton and Sanders were the 2 best for this reason: they were the only offense their teams had. The Bears became competitive in ’84, Payton’s 9th season in the league. Most of his yards were gained playing for bad teams. Same for Sanders, don’t remember the exact records for Detroit but most of those were pretty lean years for the Lions so the same goes for him. Even Brown played on some talented Cleveland teams although he did retire early. No telling how many yards he would have ended up with, definitely a stud. E. Smith and Peterson stick around only to break records, it diminishes them for me.

  15. heydouglass says:
    May 23, 2020 at 9:15 am
    Payton and Sanders were the 2 best for this reason: they were the only offense their teams had. The Bears became competitive in ’84, Payton’s 9th season in the league. Most of his yards were gained playing for bad teams. Same for Sanders, don’t remember the exact records for Detroit but most of those were pretty lean years for the Lions so the same goes for him. Even Brown played on some talented Cleveland teams although he did retire early. No telling how many yards he would have ended up with, definitely a stud. E. Smith and Peterson stick around only to break records, it diminishes them for me.
    ——
    Here’s the real value of Sanders. Most fans don’t realize he put the Lions on his back for 10 years and made five playoff appearances without a top tier QB. Since his retirement? Four. So much for him not being a winner.

  16. Peterson will someday join the likes of high-stats/no-postseason-results jerks like TO, AB, and Ocho. I’ll only remember this punk from what he did to his own son.

  17. Everyone saying 5-6 more years no. Barry played 10 seasons without a major injury. AP played 1 game in 2014 and 3 in 2016. Barry started 151 games AP has started 153 hes 1k yards behind which is a huge accomplishment given they started almost the same number of games to get them numbers.

    Oh and barry has more career rushing attempts at this point in APs career. Barry did not play in a shotgun spread passing era either.

  18. Also AP has more Career Rushing TDs in less carries and 2 more games. Barry went over 10 TDs only 6 out of 10 years. AP did it 7 straight years until his acl injury and he did it again not even a year later. Everyone glorifies barry but APs stats compare to him and in some instances are better.

  19. At this point. All Day has only played 11 more games than Barry (164-153), and Everyone keeps saying he’s played 5 more years. They forget he has missed about 2.5 years for knee problems and a child abuse incident. Then not to mention him being a 3rd RB in New Orleans for 4 games. It will be more impressive that he has overcome everything to pass him at this age

  20. Adrian Peterson is definitely one of the best RBs of all time. When he came back from ACL injury to nearly break the single year rushing record that blew me away. Still, record or not Barry Sanders was the best RB to ever play the game. Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith could be considered for second and third best. Check the stats, and remember Sanders did all that playing for the troubled Detroit Lions.

  21. At this point. All Day has only played 11 more games than Barry (164-153), and Everyone keeps saying he’s played 5 more years. They forget he has missed about 2.5 years for knee problems and a child abuse incident. Then not to mention him being a 3rd RB in New Orleans for 4 games

    ___

    I do get your point, AP has only played less 11 more games and his avg yards per game is excellent, at 87 but it shouldnt be a knock on Sanders that he stayed healthy and never beat his children. If anything, that should add to what Sanders did, not detract from it.

  22. “I’ve always wanted to say I did something better than Barry Sanders.”

    You can justify this with stats, but Adrian you ain’t no Barry Sanders.

  23. Getting hurt does not excuse you from the season! It took 5-6 years longer. Period! Stop making excuses – sheesh.

    Oh but it’s a pass heavy league now… He got hurt twice…. Just means AP isn’t as durable or elusive and did not have to carry team on his back. It is part of what separated Barry Sanders from everyone else and allowed him to average 1500+ yards a season.

    Opposing defenses also had to respect the pass for AP taking the top of the defense and opening up running lanes and holes – giving him more opportunities than Sanders who had the box stacked on almost every play.

    AP will never be better than Sanders, no matter how you try to sell it and anyone who knows the game. of football will not disagree.

  24. Adrian says the same thing every year. Remember when he said he was going for 2500 in 2013?

  25. Peterson is like Brady who has had to play into his 40’s to break many of Peyton’s records. Manning retired at 38.

  26. Remember when Peterson used to say that his goal was to beat Emmitt Smith’s all-time record for yardage gained? We don’t hear much about that anymore, do we? I guess that particular goal is no longer part of the equation. And just for the record, Peterson will never, ever do anything better than Barry Sanders did. Sanders is a class act. He was a spectacular running back, and I’ve never heard of him abusing a child.

  27. Congratulations if you beat the record of a man who literally retired because he did not give a damn about individual records whatsoever.

  28. I don’t care if he doubles the record. He’s a convicted child abuser. It seems everyone forgot about him whipping his 4 y/o kid until he bled and shoving dirt in him mouth. I didn’t, and I will never acknowledge anything he accomplishes.

  29. Most player goals are Win their division, reach the playoffs, or go to the Superbowl. AP’s goal is once again an individual goal. That’s why he’ll never be considered better then RBs like Barry Sanders.

  30. Lets not forget this guy literally cut a switch and beat a defenceless child with it.

    Belongs in a cell, not on a football field. Shouldnt be surprised though, they put Ray Lewis in the Hall of Fame.

  31. Sanders and Peterson are spectacular to watch but both had drawbacks … Sanders lost a lot of yardage because he didnt like following his blockers and Peterson fumbled at critical times …

    Payton was the best because he pass caught and blocked as hard as he ran …

  32. Everyone saying 5-6 more years no. Barry played 10 seasons without a major injury. AP played 1 game in 2014 and 3 in 2016. Barry started 151 games AP has started 153 hes 1k yards behind which is a huge accomplishment given they started almost the same number of games to get them numbers.

    Oh and barry has more career rushing attempts at this point in APs career. Barry did not play in a shotgun spread passing era either.
    ==================================================
    People forget Peterson lost those two seasons and one was to a suspension at age 29. He would have been good for another 1,200-1,500 yards.
    And AP really doesn’t have that many career carries, maybe just a few carries over 3,000.
    As far as AP being more concerned with personal goals, that not what any of his coaches have said. His coaches have always said he is the epitome of a leader and team player.

  33. nflhistorybuff68 says:
    May 23, 2020 at 1:11 pm
    Sanders and Peterson are spectacular to watch but both had drawbacks … Sanders lost a lot of yardage because he didnt like following his blockers and Peterson fumbled at critical times …

    Payton was the best because he pass caught and blocked as hard as he ran …
    ======================================================
    Lost fumbles by AP is less than 1% of all his carries. Touchdown’s career 111 or about 3 times more than his fumbles and 4 time greater than lost fumbles. If he can be known as a fumbler at 30 lost fumbles on career carries of 3,036 then why isnt he known as a known touchdown machine with 111 career touchdowns (666 points) on those same 3,036 carries.

  34. The only thing holding Adrian back is that the Redskins are chock filled with superstar running backs like Derrius Guice, Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love. It is an unbelievable backfield, arguably the best ever (at least in terms of depth.). If Adrian doesn’t pass Barry this year, winning a Super Bowl is a nice consolation prize. Adrian’s situation feels a lot like when Bettis and Payton got Super Bowls rings at the end of their careers. Very happy that AP is gonna get his own ring this year — he deserves it!

  35. JoeTorontos20thProfile says:
    May 19, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    I’m sure you would take Mitch or Foles over Stafford too. And yes , before he got injured and snapped his 136 consecutive game streak he was in the top 5 in virtually every QB stat. You should look it up but you won’t.

    ____________________

    Matthew Trashford stats:

    W/L record: 68-78-1

    0-3 in playoffs

    LMAO!

    Poor Barry Sanders, his career was ruined by the Lions even though he decided to retire early. Calvin Johnson was another wasted talent from Detroit.

  36. Sanders paid for the mighty Lions…. If he could have played with a solid team, he would be even more of a legend than he already is. He was definitely better than Emmit Smith.

  37. Well, AP is a first-ballot Hall of Famer unless the committee punishes him for his year away from the game… He’s probably the best back since LDT, but still not on the same planet as Barry Sanders.

  38. Barry Sanders – class act on and off the field.

    Adrian Peterson – abuser of children.

    Please no more comparisons.

  39. For all the Sanders fanboys out there here is another stat that Barry leads in. Most rushes by an NFL back for negative yardage. And before you blame it on lousy blocking, if you ever saw him play, and are honest you know that is because he was always trying to break the long one rather than get what was blocked. Therefore essentially negating the whole reason teams tried to rush the ball in those days. To control the clock and therefore control the game. If your RB does not consistently get yards his value to anyone (other than a fantasy team, or a long suffering fan of a losing team like the Lions looking for anything good about their team) is negligible. He was often leaving his team in 2nd and 13 rather than 2nd and 7. 1st downs are more conducive to teams winning than big plays. Sanders was lousy at that, despite his highlite runs.

  40. jimharwood90gmailcom says:

    May 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    nflhistorybuff68 says:
    May 23, 2020 at 1:11 pm
    Sanders and Peterson are spectacular to watch but both had drawbacks … Sanders lost a lot of yardage because he didnt like following his blockers and Peterson fumbled at critical times …

    Payton was the best because he pass caught and blocked as hard as he ran …
    ======================================================
    Lost fumbles by AP is less than 1% of all his carries. Touchdown’s career 111 or about 3 times more than his fumbles and 4 time greater than lost fumbles. If he can be known as a fumbler at 30 lost fumbles on career carries of 3,036 then why isnt he known as a known touchdown machine with 111 career touchdowns (666 points) on those same 3,036 carrie
    ———-
    Well that’s cherry picking stats right there to try to support your narrative except your not picking the right stat. Trying to count only his lost fumbles not his total fumbles when judging his hands is an ill conceived thought. Why should he get credit if someone else save him?

  41. “before he got injured and snapped his 136 consecutive game streak he was in the top 5 in virtually every QB stat.”

    136 consecutive games and Stafford has an 68-78-1 overall record with an 0-3 playoff record. That’s pretty horrible man.

  42. “96 Pete“ needs to go to the Patriots to accomplish this goal. He’s almost old enough to play for Belichick.

  43. They are closer in their career than alot you think.

    Sanders: 153 games 3062 attempts 15,269 yards for 5.0 average

    Peterson: 164 games 3036 carries 14,216 yards for 4.7 average

    So it is not 15 yards compared to 10 years. Peterson still hasn’t ran the ball as many times as Sanders; however, when he does Sanders will still be ahead.

  44. The points about Barry Sanders taking only 10 seasons to do this definitely still stand, but Adrian has only played 11 seasons in which he has played 10 or more games. In 2014, he only played 1 game and in 2016 he only played 3 games.

  45. So many people taking lazy low hanging fruit about Barry doing it in 10 vs Adrian doing it in 15, like they didn’t play in completely different eras of football. I guess Kirk Cousins and Matt Stafford are two of the best QBs ever…lol.

  46. Skins fan here… unless Guice and rb they drafted gets hurt I don’t see AP getting over 1,000 yards this year but never know dude still has some gas left. #HTTR

  47. “I’ve always wanted to say I did something better than Barry Sanders.” – Adrian

    “That’s cute. I did it in ten years, son…” – Barry

  48. 1000 yards for him is not a tall order. He ran for 900 last season with a healthy scratch, and was under utilized.

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