Adrian Peterson: NFL MVP Is Best Running Back in League's History

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIFebruary 3, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There have been many great running backs in the history of the NFL, but none were as talented as Adrian Peterson.

Fresh off winning the league’s MVP award on Saturday, Peterson isn’t content yet, either.

“I set the mark for 2,500 (yards),” Peterson said in an interview with Dan Patrick about his goals for the 2013 season.

The motivated Minnesota Vikings RB will turn 28 in March and still has several seasons to make his mark and complete his legacy. He’s already put his name among the best to strap on a helmet.

With an MVP under his belt, he’s aiming for a Super Bowl to solidify his resume.

While there have been great running backs before, none fully measure up to Peterson. He is the total package, a true prototypical running back who can do any-and-everything that is asked of him.

Injuries, like the ACL and MCL tears he suffered in December 2011, were supposed to stop him from playing at a high level again.

But he came back better than ever.

After a miraculous recovery, Peterson came up just nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. Had he started the season fully healthy, who knows what he could have done to that record. He would have demolished it, most likely.

After rushing for 100 yards just once in his first six games, Peterson broke that plateau in nine of his remaining 10 games. Once he got into a groove, he refused to be stopped.

That determination helped lift his team to a playoff berth, despite a lack of other viable offensive options.

Percy Harvin went down for the season in Week 9, after which the team leaned completely on Peterson and his reconstructed left knee.

No, this isn’t about one record, or any of them. This is about the performance of an athlete who is playing at a level that isn’t attainable by anyone else in the sport.

The NFL in the present day has evolved into a pass-first league. Most teams now use a running-back-by- committee approach to lessen the physical pounding running backs endure and to give defenses different looks by changing the type of back they employ.

It’s rare that you find all of the desirable characteristics of a premier running back in one player, but that’s the case for Peterson.

He’s a strong and elusive runner who sees the field like an artist sees a canvas. That field vision gives him the ability to use his athletic ability to cut back and find creases in the defense. Not only can he find the open holes and hit them quickly, but he anticipates where they will be to beat the defense before windows even open up.

While Peterson may not have amassed the total yards and accolades of Emmitt Smith or Walter Payton, he is still going and has plenty of time to close the gap.

When watching him play, there’s no denying that he’s the most gifted player on the field. Whether you agree that he’s the best running back to ever play the game—well, that’s a different story altogether.

Don't agree? Let us know your No. 1 in the comments below.