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Zulgad: Flaws in Adrian Peterson’s game are the focus in these rankings

By Judd Zulgad

Adrian Peterson returned from what amounted to a one-season absence in 2015 to rush for an NFL-leading 1,485 yards with 11 touchdowns. That earned him the prestigious honor of being a unanimous selection to the Associated Press All-Pro team.

To post those rushing figures, especially at the age of 30 and in his ninth season, is the reason why Peterson is so quick to dismiss those (like myself) who have predicted that age will catch up to him.

Peterson’s feeling is that he’s anything but typical, and he’s right when it comes to his ability to run the ball. Peterson has excelled at that area of the game since he arrived in Minnesota as the seventh-overall pick in 2007 and that ability will one day land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But that’s what Peterson is. He’s a great runner. If we’re talking about the best running backs of all-time, in terms of the complete package, Peterson isn’t in the discussion.

The latest outlet to weigh in on this is Pro Football Focus, a website that deals in analytics and analysis, and has been known to draw the ire of Vikings officials. (This dates to PFF’s criticism of left tackle Matt Kalil during the 2014 season, and the Vikings attempt to downplay the points PFF analysts were trying to make.)

It’s likely we haven’t heard coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner take exception to PFF’s analysis for the last time. Not after the website left Peterson off its rankings of the Top 101 players in the NFL for the 2015 season.

The Vikings did not go unrepresented. Linebacker Anthony Barr (No. 20), safety Harrison Smith (No. 22), center Joe Berger (No. 40) and nose tackle Linval Joseph (No. 48) all were on the list.

Peterson, however, was nowhere to be found. This seems to be a bit on the harsh side but Sam Monson of PFF attempted to explain his reasoning after acknowledging that Peterson “may still be the best pure runner in the league with the ball in his hands.”

Wrote Monson: “Peterson fumbled the ball six times, regressing back to his early-career struggles in that area. He gained 4.5 yards per carry, but his 2.3 yards per carry after contact was bettered by 28 other runners. Twenty-five other running back’s broke tackles at a higher rate than Peterson, and of course he is bad enough as a blocker and receiver that he effectively is only a two-down player that doesn’t even see the field in the most critical situations for the Vikings.”

Peterson had some good company among the “10 big-name players that missed PFF’s Top 101 of 2015.”

That list began with Peterson and also included Detroit defensive end Ezekiel Ansah; Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers; Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters; San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman; Buffalo left tackle Cordy Glenn; Los Angeles running back Todd Gurley; Carolina center Ryan Kalil; Cleveland tight end Gary Barnidge; and Denver linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

Does Peterson really deserve to be outside of PFF’s Top 101 in the NFL for 2015? The answer is probably not. But Peterson isn’t a great receiver, he’s not a good blocker and the return of his fumbling issues, which played a big role in costing the Vikings the playoff game against Seattle, are going to be held against him.

That part should come as a surprise to one.

The post Zulgad: Flaws in Adrian Peterson’s game are the focus in these rankings appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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