Former Sooner Adrian Peterson Sets Sights on Career NFL Rushing Record


Adrian Peterson has gone over 1,000 yards rushing in all but two of his eight NFL seasons, and in 2012 he eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark and came within nine yards of breaking the all-time single season record for rushing yards.

In his near record-setting 2012 NFL season, the former Sooner All-American rushed for at least 150 yards in seven games, achieving 1,019 of his 2,097 total rushing yards for the season after initial contact with a defender. That was by far Peterson’s best season in the NFL, and he feels he has a number more in him.

In fact, the former OU running back and current star with the NFL Minnesota Vikings said this week that his long-term goal is to break the NFL career rushing record held by former Dallas Cowboy great and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.

Sep 7, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) carries the ball against the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Smith’s all-time NFL record is 18,355 yards, which he accomplished in 15 NFL seasons (13 with the Cowboys and two with the Arizona Cardinals from 1990 to 2004).

“I look at things that anything is possible,” Peterson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in an article picked up by the Dallas Morning News and other news outlets around the country. “He (Smith) played 15 years. I’m going into year nine, but I’ve had only eight on the body. That’s a long-term goal.

“It’s something that I want to accomplish, just being the competitor that I am, but that’s not something I focus on,” he said…”I want to help my team win championships. I feel like by me doing that then the records will come.”

Peterson told the Pioneer Press that he thinks he can play past Smith retirement age of 35. Peterson turned 30 in March. He said he would like to be able to play seven or eight more years. “I really feel I can be 38 out there and still be the best running back in the NFL,” he said.

“I’m blessed with tremendous talent and recovery and everything, so I feel like I’ll be able to play as long as I want.” —Adrian Peterson

Peterson currently stands at 10,190 yards rushing for his NFL career. That places him 28th on the all-time NFL list and third among active running backs in the league (behind Frank Gore and Stephen Jackson).

The former NFL MVP (2012) played in only one game in the 2014 season, gaining 75 yards on 21 running plays. He was suspended following that game by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being accused of beating his four-year-old son with a tree branch.

Peterson was recently reinstated by Goodell and is back practicing with the Vikings this week in organized team activities.

In order to break Smith’s career rushing record by the same age that Smith was when he retired, Peterson would need to average 1,360 yards a season over the next six seasons. That is something he has done just three times in his seven full seasons in the league.