As a rookie, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson broke Jamal Lewis’ single-game rushing record with a 296-yard effort against the San Diego Chargers in 2007.
Eight years later, Peterson passed Lewis again. This time, Peterson passed Lewis and moved into 23rd place on the all-time career rushing charts. Peterson has 10,622 yards rushing in his career.
“It feels good. It lets you know that the work you’re putting in is paying off,” Peterson said Thursday. “It kind of reminds you of how blessed you are and when you look at the names that are still yet to be passed it’s just even more motivation to continue doing what you’re doing.”
Peterson is one of two active running backs on the top-25 chart for career rushing yards, joining Frank Gore (16th at 11,476). Gore is 32 years old; Peterson is 30.
Peterson averages 107 yards a game against the Detroit Lions, whom the Vikings play Sunday, and needs only 22 yards to passing Ricky Watters for 22nd place.
Peterson says he is interested in the names he passes as his career advances, saying it puts things in perspective for him. He has often talked about his desire to break Emmitt Smith’s all-time record, but he is still 7,733 yards away from that.
Still, along the way are some names that would remain special to him. He mentioned four.
- O.J. Simpson was the first he mentioned and that might happen later this season. He needs only 615 yards to move past Simpson and into the top 20.
- The others he listed are all in the top 10. There’s Jim Brown sitting at No. 9 with 12,312 yards or 1,690 yards ahead of Peterson.
- There’s Eric Dickerson at No. 7, who has 13,259 yards or 2,637 yards in front of Peterson.
- And there’s Barry Sanders at No. 3. He had 15,269 yards or 4,647 yards ahead of Peterson.
“There’s a lot of guys on there,” Peterson said.
It’s possible he could reach the top 10 by the end of next season, needing 1,658 yards to get there.