Despite being in his mid-30s, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson has continued to be one of the more productive players at his position. Peterson has dealt with injuries over the last several years but has shown that he still possesses the ability on the field to be a useful asset out of the backfield. That has brought into question how much longer he will continue to play in the NFL. Peterson has now given some clarity about when he plans to step away from the game finally.
Adrian Peterson’s strong 2019 campaign
Since signing with the Redskins before last season, Peterson has had a career rebirth of sorts with the franchise in the past two years.
His first campaign with the team saw him tally his eighth season with more than 1,000 rushing yards and his first in a four-year span. Peterson has backed up that with another solid season as he has 820 rushing yards and five touchdowns ahead of the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.
He has continued to rack up numerous career milestones as he moved past Hall of Famer Curtis Martin for fifth all-time in rushing yards and surpassed Walter Payton for fourth all-time in rushing touchdowns. There has been no slowing down with his production as he has made the most of the opportunities in front of him.
Adrian Peterson eyeing NFL longevity
Peterson has seized the opportunity to extend his NFL career with the Redskins, which he has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank.
That has played a role in the confidence in his ability on the field to keep rolling as long as he wants to do so. During a recent interview with Jane Slater of NFL Network, voiced that he believes he can continue to play through age 40.
Peterson’s comments do give the sense of the reasonable reaction to those lofty goals as it’s quite difficult for running backs to play to that age due to the physical pounding they take. However, he may have found something hat has kept him fresh and agile as he had several flashes of his vintage play over the last two seasons that have helped fuel his production.
Peterson has another older running back to model his game after in his later career in Buffalo Bills’ Frank Gore, who has continued to showcase that he’s ageless wonder. He has shown no notable drop off in his play that has been backed by his durability and effectiveness rushing.
What it will take Adrian Peterson to extend his career
Peterson has no evident desire to step away from the game anytime soon, which should keep his focus on the long-term plan.
Although he is playing in a significant role in the offense, second-year running back Derrius Guice is the player that the Redskins want as their primary back. That will put Peterson in a tight spot of having to adjust to a secondary role, which he appeared to be accepting of when Guice was still healthy this season.
That puts Gore into the picture as motivation beyond his play on the field, as he has taken on and embraced a smaller role in the backfield as the secondary option to a young talented running back in Devin Singletary. His mental approach to the game over the last few years has helped keep him in the league as more than a serviceable option.
Peterson will need to adopt that approaching moving forward as teams will find it difficult to completely trust an older running back near the tail end of their career. Gore has laid out the blueprint to extending an NFL career as a running back; it’s on Peterson to accept that role if he wants to be playing the league until 40.