8 best Minnesota Vikings running backs after their first 3 years

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images) Adrian Peterson /

1. Adrian Peterson (2009 – 2011)

  • 46 games
  • 915 carries
  • 4,484 rushing yards
  • 5,313 yards from scrimmage
  • 41 touchdowns

By now, it is obvious that Adrian Peterson would top the ranking. Selected seventh overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, Peterson made an immediate impact as a punishing runner.

In his rookie season, starting only nine games, he led the league with an average of 95.8 yards per game. He dramatically improved upon that during his second season as he averaged an incredible 110.0 yards per game while leading the NFL in rushing with 1,760 yards. In his third season, he again led the NFL, this time with 18 rushing touchdowns.

More effective as a runner than a receiver, 84.4 percent of his yards came on the ground. Peterson easily led the ranking in rushes, rushing yards, yards per attempt, rushing touchdowns, and yards from scrimmage. During his rookie season, he twice rushed for over 200 yards in a game, including an NFL-record 296 yards in a Week 8 matchup against the San Diego Chargers.

Peterson played 10 seasons with the Vikings and he led the team in rushing on eight of those years. He is the franchise leader in career rushing yards with 11,747 yards—4,929 yards more than Robert Smith who is second. He also is the franchise leader with 97 rushing touchdowns—45 more than Chuck Foreman.

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As Peterson enters his 14th NFL season, he ranks fifth all-time with 14,216 career rushing yards.