Monday, November 5, 2007

Adrian Peterson: The Next Big Thing?

Sometime during his record breaking demolition of the Sand Diego defense, Adrian Peterson had to know that he was doing something special. If he did, you wouldn't know it, because this guy is simply a class act. Peterson is modest and soft-spoken, but it's his confidence that sets him apart from most running backs in the NFL. He expects to get nearly 300 yards a game, but doesn't boast when he achieves it. He compliments his offensive line, a savvy move for any young running back. He is the anti-Larry Johnson, the anti-Tiki Barber and even the anti-LaDainian Tomlinson. Right now, he is the best football player in the league.

It was obvious from the start that Peterson, nicknamed A.D. for "all day", was a step above the rest. Setting the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards, he would've come straight out of his sophomore year if it weren't for one thing: injury. But he made it to the pros, where he's lighting up defenses in a way most current players have never seen. With Minnesota's horrid passing offense, Peterson is doing all of this with 8 or 9 defenders in the box. Everybody knows he is getting the ball, and there is nothing they can do about it.

I was a little skeptical of Peterson at first, having read articles early in the season that he was showing up to watch game film with hangovers. He seemed like just another young superstar who would flame out due to his own celebrity. But man, he has really come on. And it is obvious to me that his early season woes straightened him out. He's wearing suits during post game press conferences. He acts as if rushing for 300 yards is simply his job. The Oklahoma in him is definitely showing.

The more accomplished and celebrated backs in this league need to take a hint from Adrian Peterson. He plays ball, shuts his mouth and goes home. That's the way it's supposed be. No holding out for a bigger contract (Johnson), no throwing your team under the bus (Barber) and no whining (Tomlinson). This 22 year old kid is more mature and has more class in his little finger than most of the star running backs in the NFL combined. Plus, he has more talent. When those other three players have bad games, they question the play calling. When Peterson has a bad game, he rushes for 296 yards. That's how it's done, folks. Let's just hope that Peterson doesn't get bit by the injury bug, or whatever plague of attitude that has washed over the league.


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