There are very few comparisons that can accurately be made to Adrian Peterson as a running back. In the minds of most, Peterson is in a class by himself. But, if there is a running back that would be used as a primary comparison, it would be Seattle's Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch came into the NFL at the same time as Peterson and, while injuries derailed his career in Buffalo early on, once he was traded to Seattle, Lynch became a superstar running back capable of carrying an offense on the ground in the pass-happy world of the NFL. Whenever there is a discussion as to who is the closest to Peterson in terms of dominance on the ground and power running, Lynch is usually the first name mentioned.
Peterson and Lynch go back a long way in their NFL careers and they have built a mutual admiration of one another's skills.
"We came up (to the NFL) together and we trained together down in Arizona, so I know his mentality," Peterson said. "I respect him as a running back. He definitely carries the nickname ‘Beast Mode' very well."
While the two aren't mirror images of each other, when it comes to gaining the tough yards and the competitive fire, Peterson sees the similarities in the way they approach the game.
"We've got different styles, but as far as the way we run, as far as the aggressive part, he definitely reminds me of myself," Peterson said. "I'm sure he would say the same thing."
Peterson said that when the training takes place in the offseason, it's a who's-who of NFL stars.
With that talent and those egos in place, the competition is fierce, even when it comes to training and working out away from the football field. They feed off each other and learn some of the training tricks that the others use to stoke their competitive fire.
"You've got two guys who are so competitive and want to be the best," Peterson said. "There's a lot of guys there. Calvin Johnson. Patrick Willis. So you can just imagine what kind of mindsets was there training. Those guys make you better. You're able to see things that they do. You'll be like, ‘Hmm. Maybe I can do that a little better.' You're able to learn things from them as well, but when you've got a lot of alpha males out there, you're definitely competing to be the best and pushing each other."
Their training competition will be on display Sunday when the Vikings meet the Seahawks, and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is impressed with what he's seen in Lynch. While he would never go so far as to say Lynch is Peterson's equal, Frazier has a lot of respect for Seattle's version of A.D.
"He's a good one," Frazier said. "He's got the power. He's got the ability to run through tackles. You don't see him get knocked down by one guy very often. He runs through contact often, but he's more of a between-the-tackles type of runner. You'll see some runs on the perimeter, but more inside runs, long runs. I think he's leading the league with 10-plus [yard] runs. He's a very impressive back. We've got to get a lot of people to the ball to tackle him. He's hard to tackle. But Adrian, Adrian's in a class by himself. I have a lot of respect for Marshawn's talent and what he's accomplished, but there is only one Adrian Peterson."
Frazier believes that the competition that is created by the friendly rivalry the two players share makes Peterson burn for more and try to show that he is the king of the hill when it comes to NFL running backs.
"I know he respects other good players, other good backs in our league," Frazier said. "He's always motivated to have a great game. He had a terrific game out there a year ago. I don't know if that gets him more hyped or not. He always comes ready to have a big game every week."
Peterson and Lynch will never be on the same field at the same time, but Peterson admitted there is a battle that will be going on between them – along the lines of anything you can do, I can do better.
"I'm sure it's there, to some extent," Peterson said. "It's not like we're at the point where you're more focused on that than wanting to win, but of course I'm sure he sits over there and is like, ‘Hey, Adrian breaks one. I want to break one. I want to perform better for my team to help my team win.' So in inside, all the way in the back, it kind of sits there. But it's not at the forefront."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Peterson, ‘Beast Mode' and ‘alpha males'
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