Adrian Peterson will have to continue his pursuit of Emmitt Smith’s rushing records elsewhere.
Peterson, the legendary running back best known for his years with the Minnesota Vikings, just lost his position with the Washington Football Team. Washington unexpectedly cut Peterson, the expected starter after Derrius Guice’s release this summer.
As the Washington Football Team prepares to move on without Peterson, the 35-year-old needs to hope he can find a new home soon.
Washington unexpectedly cut Adrian Peterson
The final days leading up to the NFL regular season always include surprise cuts.
Still, it wasn’t likely many people figured Adrian Peterson would be among the cuts. After a down 2017 season spent between New Orleans and Arizona, Peterson revived his career in Washington.
Peterson ran for 1,940 yards and 12 touchdowns in 31 games, all ones he started, across two seasons with the team once known as the Redskins.
A healthy scratch in Week 1 last year, Peterson totaled 898 yards and five touchdowns on 4.3 yards per attempt.
Barring a surprising veteran addition, it appears Washington will roll with a young backfield this season. Antonio Gibson, a rookie from Memphis, and Bryce Love, the former Stanford star, could split carries following Peterson’s release.
Adrian Peterson has had a phenomenal career so far
Whenever Adrian Peterson hangs up his cleats, he’ll have completed a career that will land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Through 13 seasons, Peterson recorded 14,216 rushing yards and 111 touchdowns on 4.7 yards per attempt. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Peterson has also earned four first-team All-Pro nods.
Peterson won Offensive Rookie of the Year when he debuted for the Minnesota Vikings in 2007. The seventh overall pick ran for an NFL record 296 yards in a victory over LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers that November.
Five years later, Peterson won the NFL MVP Award when he led the NFL with 2,097 rushing yards. The numbers came a year after Peterson tore his ACL in a late-December game against the Washington Redskins, his future team.
Peterson trails only Frank Gore, now with the Jets, among active players in rushing yards. Gore enters the 2020 season with 15,347 rushing yards to Peterson’s 14,216.
Peterson has the edge in rushing touchdowns, though. The All-Pro has scored 111 rushing touchdowns, much higher than Gore’s 79.
Peterson’s release affects his pursuit of Emmitt Smith’s records
Adrian Peterson has repeatedly said he doesn’t feel the end is in sight.
Part of that thinking comes from Peterson’s place in the NFL record books. Entering the 2020 season, Peterson is 4,140 yards short of breaking Emmitt Smith’s rushing yards record.
Peterson is also 54 rushing touchdowns shy of passing Smith’s 164 touchdowns.
Although Peterson wouldn’t have broken either record this year, it appeared he was in line to start for Washington. Even if Peterson didn’t cross 250 carries, the legendary running back could have continued climbing the list.
There aren’t many teams out there who could sign a 35-year-old running back and hand him the starting role. Teams in need of running back depth, like the Miami Dolphins or New England, already have younger and fresher options.
The Jacksonville Jaguars released Leonard Fournette at the end of August. Would Peterson be willing to sign with a Jaguars team that should again be competing for a top-five pick in next spring’s draft?
Adrian Peterson has already earned his spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it has to be a crushing blow to learn that his pursuit of Smith’s records may have just taken its biggest hit yet.
All stats courtesy of ESPN.