The best backs in NFL history? Here are Peterson’s top four

Courtesy of Detroit Lions


(Adrian Peterson photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)
(Barry Sanders photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions)

Talk of Fame Network

You have your favorite running backs, and we have ours. But whom does Adrian Peterson admire?

We asked him to name his top three running backs on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, and he couldn’t do it. He named four instead. And the list might surprise you.

“I have to respect my elders,” he said. “I’ve got to put Jim Brown right there. He’s the guy. He’s the guy everyone takes. I look at stats and numbers, and I say, ‘OK, this guy might not have been the most physical back, or this guy was maybe been faster and stronger. But who produced the most?’

“So I look at things like that and have to have Barry Sanders up there without a doubt. Without question, I would say Barry Sanders and Walter Payton … even though they were different styles.

“I’m more of a Walter Payton-type runner than Barry Sanders, but I have to put those guys on the same level. Even though Barry was more of an elusive guy — a make-you-miss type of guy — and he wasn’t that powerful he had the speed. But it wasn’t like blazing speed. (But) he produced and got it done, and he got it done in a way I haven’t seen since. So I would say Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and then I have to go with O.J (Simpson). I’ve got to go with ‘The Juice.’ ”

The upset here is that Peterson didn’t name Eric Dickerson, whose single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards Peterson nearly eclipsed in 2012 when he fell eight yards short. Nevertheless, Peterson firmly believes the 31-year-old mark will be eclipsed.

“It will be broken,” he said. “You know what? I didn’t mention Dickerson. I was sitting there and debating O.J. and Eric Dickerson. I know he has the single-season rushing record, but O.J. … the things he did in what… 14 games? Two thousand yards? That’s on a whole different level.

“That record is something I’m shooting for as well. That’s something I want to accomplish. One day it will be broken and, God willing, I’m the one who will break it.”

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  1. Rasputin
    October 12, 2015

    Left out Emmitt Smith too. Smith is criminally underrated by a shallow, highlight obsessed society because he wasn’t always as flashy as some of those others. What made Emmitt Smith great weren’t just those long youtube highlight runs, but the way he consistently slammed into the pile for 4-8 yards in his prime over the first half of the 90s. That’s how you sustain drives and win championships. That’s why he was not only a better all around football player than Barry Sanders, but a better running back.

    • October 12, 2015

      Two things made Emmitt a great RB: 1) An abundance of talent, hard work and determination and 2) a terrific OL, the best in the league at that time.

      • Rasputin
        October 13, 2015

        Sure, but before anyone goes down the road of using the great O-line to diminish Emmitt, go back and count how many HoF linemen Jim Brown ran behind.

        • Joseph Wright
          April 24, 2017

          So let’s see:

          Jim Brown–On ESPN Up Close with Chris Myers (1996), “Emmitt can play on certain teams; Barry could play for any team, in any era.”

          Gale Sayers–On Emmitt Smith, “Good running back, great offensive line.”

          Eric Dickerson–On ESPN Up Close with Chris Myers on the possibility of playing behind the ’90s Dallas OL instead of Emmitt Smith, “(Laughing) 3,000 yards!”

          Adrian Peterson–Didn’t even bring Emmitt up!!! LOL!!!

          As I’ve said before, no one is buying Emmitt’s shameful accumulation of the all-time rushing record. And Peterson is from east Texas!!! LOL!!!

          Still fightin’ the losin’ cause, huh, junior? LMFAO!!!

          • Rasputin
            April 24, 2017

            You’re still following me around butthurt over the ass kicking you received on the Lee Roy Jordan page…..but now you’re resorting to slinking to an old article posted TWO YEARS AGO in hopes that I wouldn’t notice, lol? What a coward you are, little Joey.

            Jim Brown – “If anyone wants to test my speed, they can put me up against Franco anytime. I may be 47, but I can still beat him.”

            LOL! The serial woman abuser showed how delusional he was when Franco torched him in a nationally televised race. Dickerson’s bluster was even more delusional.

            Every intelligent observer on Gale Sayers – “Great speed, made of glass. Not a reliable workhorse back.”

            Sayers hasn’t been in the loop for the past half century or so, and doesn’t seem aware that Smith was also the best RB in high school and college, all with different lines.

            Adrian Peterson Wonderlic score – 16.

            Yeah, I might hire Peterson to run with a football but I’m not interested in his analytical opinions. He’s just giving his personal favorites anyway, and in a flippant, off the cuff manner from the looks of it.

            Nice “experts” you assembled, lol. And I bet even none of those guys would agree with your asinine claim about Smith being a “fraudulent”, “slightly above average” back.

          • Joseph Wright
            April 24, 2017

            They have never mentioned Smith in a favorable manner, and rightfully so. He was never on their level. Clark Judge is with us and not with you. So much for your hypocritical claim of “sticking with the experts.”

          • Rasputin
            April 24, 2017

            Are you talking about the RB who was named to 8 Pro Bowls, selected first team All Pro 4 times, made first team All Decade, and voted in as a first ballot Hall of Famer, lol? Apparently those experts viewed him in a favorable manner.

      • Joseph Wright
        April 24, 2017

        Amen, Clark! Amen!

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