For everyone that barks about Adrian Peterson's fumbling problem saying "bench him," "trade him," or "you can't consider him one of the greats," let's take a look at the numbers.
I recently put in the research on this for a response to a user at WCG, so I figured I'd put the information out there for you Vikings fans to ponder upon. I'm gonna change the content up a small bit for this fan post, to make it relevant to your site, but the analysis will remain the same.
Kris Kross will make you jump, jump...
Adrian Peterson – 3 years, 20 fumbles: Avg. 6.6 fumbles per year
Jim Brown – 9 years, 57 fumbles. Avg: 6.3 fumbles per year
Walter Payton – 13 years, 86 fumbles: Avg. 6.6 fumbles per year
Barry Sanders – 10 years, 41 fumbles: Avg. 4.1 fumbles per year
OJ Simpson – 11 years, 62 fumbles: Avg. 5.6 fumbles per year
It’s important to note that Brown’s first four seasons were played when the league was at a 12 game schedule, and the last five were at 14 game schedule. Walter played three seasons under the 14 game schedule and Simpson never played more than 14 games in a season, even after the 16 game schedule was put into place. Meaning, even these numbers are a bit padded for some.
So, let’s look more closely, at fumbles per game:
Adrian Peterson – 46 games, 20 fumbles: Avg. 0.43 fumbles per game (from 0.44 fpg)
Jim Brown – 118 games, 57 fumbles: Avg. 0.48 fumbles per game
Walter Payton – 190 games, 86 fumbles: Avg. 0.45 fumbles per game
Barry Sanders – 153 games, 41 fumbles: Avg. 0.27 fumbles per game
OJ Simpson – 135 games, 62 fumbles: Avg. 0.45 fumbles per game
EDIT: Per request, I've added in yards per touch (both career and after the first three seasons) in the comments section below.
EDIT II: I've updated the stats above to include AP's final game and updated the rest in the comments section (01/08/10).
Besides the anomaly that was Barry Sanders (and Gale Sayers, who I left out), Peterson is right on tap with some of the best running backs to ever play the game. I'm not saying that he shouldn't work on it, he should. But to say that he can’t be compared to some of the greats or that he should be benched “because of his fumbles” is ill advised, that’s all.
In retrospect, Matt Forte averages 3.5 fumbles per year, and 0.26 fumbles per game, that’s better than the entire group, including Sanders. But who’d you rather have? Personally, I like Forte and think he’s a decent NFL back, but I’d take AP in the drop of a hat. No questions asked.
Note: As most everyone knows, I'm a die hard Bears fan who frequents this site on the regular and has built a solid rapport with some of the people here. I'm not posting this to bash Forte, or the Bears, and would hope that all would remain respectful, if only for this thread. My intention of posting this is purely as a way to show you that it's never as bad, or good, as it seems. Good day, and SKOL Bears! ;)