Since signing with the New Orleans Saints this offseason, Adrian Peterson has been doing a lot of talking. Maybe a bit too much.
In the past few months, the running back has spoken about everything from leading the NFL in rushing in 2017 to playing until he is 38 to laughing at those who say he is not a good receiver out of the backfield.
There is a big difference between being confident and being delusional, and Peterson’s comments tend to fall into a similar category with some of the statements commonly uttered by the current President of the United States.
Since 1970, no running back who was at least 32 years old has ever led the league in rushing. Only a total of 12 running backs in NFL history have actually even finished a season with 1,000 or more rushing yards after their 32nd birthday.
But Peterson, who is coming off a year in which he missed 13 games due to a knee injury, has no doubts about his capabilities to lead the league in rushing this year.
Now, he never mentioned how many carries it would take for him to accomplish this feat. So perhaps he was thinking that it could be done with around 500 carries, but just conveniently failed to mention that? Probably not, since this is the same guy who felt it was necessary to tell a courtroom associate that he “smoked a little weed,” prior to a drug test during his 2014 child abuse extravaganza.
As far as him playing until he is 38? Yeah, that’s not going to happen either.
No running back has ever played in a NFL game as a 38-year-old. The oldest any rusher has ever been in league history was back in 1997 when at 37, Marcus Allen played in 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Based on Peterson’s past history with injuries and his inability to evolve into a more rounded running back, his chances of even playing past this year are slim at best.
Speaking of being a more complete back, Peterson has been giggling this offseason when presented with the notion that he has never been viewed as a player who can really hurt an opponent with his skills as a receiver.
Peterson has blamed that opinion on the recent crop of quarterbacks that have been throwing to him, which is actually pretty fair. Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel were not exactly what someone would call “reliable” when it came to getting the ball to their receivers during their time in Minnesota with Peterson.
The running back has asked his doubters to look back to his receiving statistics during his years with the Vikings during which Brett Favre was throwing him the ball. Peterson caught a total of 79 passes during Favre’s two seasons with Minnesota back in 2009 and 2010, more than any two consecutive years in the running back’s career.
That’s great that he was able to catch all those balls back in the day. But back in the day is now seven years ago and that amount in running back years resembles something closer to 30.
Can Peterson be productive in 2017 with the Saints? Yes, of course. If anyone is going to figure out a way to use him it is going to be New Orleans’ head coach Sean Payton.
But no one should be expecting him to be the type of player he was even two seasons ago, including Mr. Peterson himself.