Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray are two of the greatest running backs in Oklahoma football history.
The pair stand fourth and seventh, respectively, on the Sooner career rushing leaderboard. Both played for Bob Stoops and played on a combined six Big 12 championship teams.
After leaving Oklahoma, Peterson and Murray went on to outstanding careers in the National Football League. Murray announced his retirement this summer after seven seasons in the league, while Peterson, who, at 33, is three years older than Murray, is still hanging on, but just barely.
Peterson signed a contract this week with the Washington Redskins and is in their training camp in Ashburn, Virginia, trying to make the opening day roster.
A former NFL Most Valuable Player, three-time NFL rushing leader and four-time first-team All-Pro selection, Peterson played for the Minnesota Vikings his first 10 seasons in the league, but the Redskins are his third team since the end of the 2016 season.
Peterson was the top Oklahoma recruit and the No. 1 overall player in the 2004 national recruiting class, according to Rivals.com, and he set the record at OU for rushing yards by a freshman with 1,925. He played three seasons at Oklahoma, and was a first-round draft pick (No. 7 player taken overall) of the Vikings in 2007. After 10 mostly successful seasons, following several injury-plagued years, Minnesota decided not to exercise Peterson’s contract option for 2017, and he became a free agent.
The former Oklahoma star played for two different teams last season, the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals, but he was not the same player he was earlier in his NFL career and before his 2016 knee injury. The Cardinals released the aging NFL star in March.
The Redskins are in need of help at running back after an ACL injury to top draft pick Derrius Guice and an ankle injury suffered by backup Samaje Perine, who also played at Oklahoma and is the Sooners’ career rushing leader. If Peterson makes the roster, he is signed to a one-year contract.
Before bringing in Peterson, Washington worked out Jamaal Charles, a former NFL rushing leader while with the Kansas City Chiefs, and former New York Giant Orleans Darkwa, but did not sign either player.
“It’s been a long offseason, but I’ve been keeping my body in shape and I’m ready for the opportunity” Peterson said in an article on the Redskins’ team website.
Peterson is expected to see plenty of playing time in Washington’s third preseason game this week against the Denver Broncos. His play in that game could determine his 2018 future with the Redskins.
In 2014, the same year Peterson went down at Minnesota with the first of his two major knee surgeries, DeMarco Murray won the NFL rushing title in his fourth season with the Dallas Cowboys. Murray gained 4,526 rushing yards in fours season with the Cowboys. He joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and spent the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, for whom he picked up nearly 2,000 yards on the ground.
This past offseason, the former Sooner star, who was a triple-threat at OU both running and catching the ball and returning kicks, decided to hang it up as far as being an on-the-field performer. But he won’t step far away from the game, having signed on with Fox Sports to be a college football analyst beginning this fall.