Adrian Peterson not giving up on the Emmitt Smith chase

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Adrian Peterson will not give up on the Emmitt Smith chase. Good for him, I say.

Since his third or fourth year in the league, Peterson, a big fan of football history, has fancied somehow, some way, breaking Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record. Well, he’s only 5,493 yards away, after the best game any rusher in football had Sunday (26 carries, 149 yards, one touchdown) in Washington’s win over the Giants.

Peterson is 33. He is probably the only one who thinks he can play multiple more years, and play well. But he does. And when I asked him after Sunday’s game if he thought it “ludicrous” that he could challenge Smith’s record, he said over the phone from New Jersey: “It’s not ludicrous at all. I still think I can string great years together. The way I view it is, I could have a 1,500-yard season, maybe a 2,000 season again. I believe in myself.”

To do it, Peterson, minimum, would have to play 3.5 or 4.5 more seasons as a starting back. That’s almost inconceivable. Not to him, though. On the day he passed Tony Dorsett into ninth place on the all-time rushing list (he has 12,863 yards; Smith, for the record, has 18,355), Peterson said he was playing at 75 or 80 percent, in part because of a shoulder injury he claims is healing by the week.

“I can see where the nagging injuries are slowing me down,” he said. “But even at 75, 80 percent, I know I can find holes. Each week, my shoulder feels better. It’s basically mind over matter. I’m getting better.”

A 33-year-old back, not feeling his best, ran for the most yards of anyone in the league this weekend. After his 64-yard touchdown gallop put the game away Sunday, Peterson has as many rushes of 50 or more yards as Barry Sanders. It’s an amazing run. For now, stay out of Peterson’s way. He’s got rehabbing to do, and a ghost to chase.

Read more of Peter King’s Football Morning in America here