This upcoming NFL season will be an interesting one as of the league’s best running backs-Adrian Peterson- is nearing the end of his prime. Peterson has spent the last nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, and has yet to find any playoff success in his 4 years that the team went into the postseason. Peterson and the Vikings only playoff victory came against Dallas in 2009, and it may be time to question if NFL fans put Peterson among the list of other great running backs who never won the Super Bowl. So let’s take Peterson, and compare him to the most recent addition of half backs to never be champion, Ladainian Tomlinson.
Tomlinson was a 11 veteran who played primarily for the San Diego Chargers, and then two seasons with the New York Jets. During his time as a Charger, Tomlinson was a revelation at the running back position. Not only was he an explosive running back, but Ladainian had great hands allowing him to be another receiver. The stats only back this up this workhorse like mentality that the franchise had when it came to high Tomlinson. By his second season in San Diego, Tomlinson led the Chargers in Yards from scrimmage with 2172, receptions with 79, and touchdowns with 15. This rate of production continued and eventually culminated into a masterpiece of a season in 2006 when he was awarded the MVP, and Offensive play of the year. However, in this last season with the Chargers, Tomlinson had a significant drop off in production at the age of 30. With a then career low in total yards (884), touchdowns (12), rushing yards per attempt (3.3), and receptions (20). Some may say that the emergence of Darren Sporles as a second option in the back field played a part, but it was clear that father time had caught up to Tomlinson.
With Peterson, the same concerns may be validated depending on how well he does this year. Peterson turned 31 in March, and came back strong from his league mandated suspension. He led the league in rushing yards (1485), rushing attempts (327), rushing yards per game (92.8) and was tied for most rushing touchdowns (11). It is safe to say that the year off may have helped Peterson, but he is still some ways off his 2012 MVP season. The four time first team All-Pro running back, may have to find a way to alter his workload in the upcoming if he wish to compete a at high level for a Superbowl victory.