Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other subscribers

MN Vikings Tweets

Bleacher Report – Vikings

How does Adrian Peterson stack up against new Hall of Famers Davis and Tomlinson?

By Matthew Coller


Two running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis, were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday as part of a seven-player class. If there was any question about whether Adrian Peterson would one day be in the Hall, the election of Davis makes it a guarantee.

When we think of Davis, the first thing that comes to mind is his incredible 2,008-yard season that was capped off with a Super Bowl victory. We are also constantly reminded at his lack of longevity. In comparison to Peterson, we might say that AP has a much stronger resume because he has been around for much longer. But upon close examination, the best years of their careers aren’t all that different.

Davis was the NFL’s premier running back from 1995 to 1998. That may seem like an incredibly short period of time, but his four year stretch was one of the greatest the NFL has ever seen. He averaged 1,603 yards and 14 touchdowns per year at 4.8 yards per carry. Even in an era with many quality running backs, Davis’ numbers rose to levels of the all-time greats.

Twice during the stretch Pro Football Reference lists his “Annual Value” as No. 1 in the NFL. Davis led the league in yards in ’98 and touchdowns in ’97.

The stat that never seems to come up in regards to Davis’s resume is his playoff rushing. He played another half season in the playoffs and averaged 142.5 yards per game at 5.6 yards per attempt and scored 12 touchdowns.


Following his ’98 season – which should go down as one of the greatest accomplishments the NFL has ever seen – Davis only played 17 more games. He averaged 3.8 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns.

Peterson’s peak is more difficult to define than Davis’s because he remained healthy until this year, but let’s say we define both players’ peak as ending with their 2000 yard seasons. Then Peterson’s stacks up like this:


Obviously Peterson played in more games during his best years, but they are very close in yards per carry, touchdowns per season, yards per game, impact in the receiving game and yards from scrimmage.

While Peterson gets credit for a longer stay at the top, his playoff performances leave a lot to be desired. Davis is No. 1 in NFL history in playoff yards per game and leads the next best (Arian Foster) by nearly 14 yards. The Vikings’ star back is 27th with 82.4 yards per game and averaged just 3.6 per rush.

When comparing their cases for the Hall of Fame, the distance between Peterson and Davis depends entirely on how much credit you give Peterson for his performances after 2013.

After rushing for 2,097 yards in 2012, his production dropped off significantly, dipping to 1,266 yards at a solid, but only slightly above average, 4.5 yards per attempt.

When Peterson came back from his suspension in 2014 – which may stick with some Hall of Fame voters when that day does come around – he led the NFL in rushing, but by 2015, that accomplishment meant quite a bit less than in Davis’s days. Peterson was basically the only 300-carry workhorse left in the league.

Of course, Peterson may not be done. Like Tomlinson, he might end up in another jersey before it’s all said and done.

The former San Diego Charger has a much more impressive all-around resume than Peterson. During Tomlinson’s best years, he averaged an identical number of yards per game rushing, but had much more impact in the Chargers’ passing game.


Tomlinson’s yards from scrimmage average is 341 yards better per year than Peterson and he was a more prolific scorer with 20 touchdowns per season compared to AP’s 13. The effectiveness of both running backs’ overall offense would have an affect on the receiving and touchdown stats. Peterson was the entire offense for most of his career sans for the Brett Favre days, while Tomlinson played with Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers.

Where Peterson goes from here will determine where he ultimately ranks in the history of the position. Tomlinson currently sits fifth all-time in rushing, behind only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin. Peterson is only 1,937 yards behind Tomlinson for a spot in the top five. If he can stay healthy, whether it’s in Minnesota or somewhere else, that number appears attainable.

The post How does Adrian Peterson stack up against new Hall of Famers Davis and Tomlinson? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>