Although running backs might not be the focal point of many NFL offenses anymore, it’s impossible to argue with Adrian Peterson’s talent. During his time with the Minnesota Vikings, “All Day” emerged as one of football’s biggest stars; that reality helped him earn more than $100 million in the NFL. Peterson, however, is still looking for more.
Although the running back turned 35 in March, he’s not ready to call it a career just yet. In fact, he’s ready to play four more years of professional football.
Adrian Peterson was one of the NFL’s biggest stars in his prime
These days, most NFL teams view running backs as an interchangeable part of their offense. During his prime, however, there was no replacing Adrian Peterson.
After a dominant high school career, Peterson headed to the University of Oklahoma. His rise to prominence continued under Bob Stoops; while injuries plagued the running back after a dominant freshman campaign, he still piled up 4,041 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns during his time with the Sooners. That resume convinced the Minnesota Vikings to select him with the seventh overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft.
While there were some lingering concerns over Peterson’s health, he dispelled any doubts when he hit the field. The running back posted 1,341 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns during his first year in the pros, cruising to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Perhaps more impressively, though, he kept up the pace year after year. In 2012, for example, he accumulated 2,097 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, claiming the NFL MVP title.
After that season, though, things went off the rails a bit. Peterson missed virtually all of the 2014 campaign after hitting his son with a switch; the running back returned to action in 2015, but then spent most of 2016 on the sidelines with a torn meniscus. After that injury, the Vikings didn’t pick up his option.
After that, Peterson split the next season between New Orleans and Arizona before finding a home with the Washington Redskins. While he’s no longer the league’s premier player, the running back is still capable of posting some solid numbers.
Earning more than $100 million in NFL salary
While most professional athletes earn handsome salaries, the NFL’s biggest stars can land some truly massive contracts. Adrian Peterson experienced that reality firsthand.
According to Spotrac’s financial data, the running back has earned almost $102 million during his time in the pros. As you might imagine, most of that money came during Peterson’s prime. During his time with the Vikings, he took home a hair under $95 million in salary, with $86 million of that stemming from one contract extension.
Since leaving Minnesota, though, Peterson’s earning power has diminished. He took home $3.5 million during the 2017 NFL season, which he split between New Orleans and Arizona; he’s also made about $2.5 million in Washington thus far, with another $2.5 million coming this season, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Adrian Peterson isn’t ready to retire from professional football
Given that he’s spent 13 seasons in the NFL, piled up over 14,000 rushing yards, and earned more than $100 million in salary, you might think that Adrian Peterson is ready to call it a career. The 35-year-old running back, however, isn’t going anywhere just yet.
In a recent interview, TMZ Sports asked Peterson how much longer he sees himself playing in the NFL. “Man, why not four more years?” the running back responded. “Why not?”
For all of his statistical success and career earnings, Peterson explained that he’s still motivated to hit the field every Sunday. Beyond chasing an elusive Super Bowl title, he doesn’t want to leave the game he loves prematurely.
“I don’t want to ever be in a position where I look back and say, ‘Man, I should have played two more years,'” Peterson continued. “I want to enjoy it. I’m still chasing a championship, and, you know, I can still play the game at a high level. So, for those reasons, and having that love and passion for the game, I’m going to continue to keep the ball rolling.”
Given the state of the Washington Redskins, it doesn’t look like Peterson will lift the Lombardi Trophy within the next four years. If nothing else, though, he’ll be able to earn a few more millions before riding off into the sunset.