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Adrian Peterson - Still The Best

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For most of the off-season, we heard a lot about what Adrian Peterson's goals for the 2013 NFL season were. The name of Eric Dickerson and a total of 2,500 rushing yards were tossed around quite a bit. But with the Minnesota Vikings getting off to an 0-3 start to begin the season, Peterson's numbers appeared to take a bit of a hit, has he went over the 100-yard mark just one time in the team's first three games.

However, as we've now completed the first month of the 2013 regular season, Adrian Peterson is right where you'd expect him to be among the National Football League's running backs. . .near the top of the list. Through the first four games of the season, only Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy has rushed for more yards than Peterson's 421. Thanks in large part to his 23 carry, 140-yard performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, his rushing average is back to a healthy 4.6 yards per carry. No running back has more touchdowns this season than Peterson's five, and the 78-yard touchdown run he had on his first carry of 2013 is the longest run in the NFL this season.

And what's scarier still? Even though the perception has been that he's had a "down" season thus far, he's still well ahead of his pace from his record-setting 2012 season.

Through his first four games of 2012, Peterson carried the football 79 times for 332 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards/carry. This year, he has 92 carries for 421 yards and five scores. It took Peterson a bit to get up to speed last season as he recovered from the knee injury he suffered in 2011, and then put together a huge second half of the season en route to winning the league's Most Valuable Player award. You have to wonder if a similar second half surge is in the cards this year.

But that's part of the beauty of Adrian Peterson. What would be a great start to the year for just about anyone else in the league at the position is just sort of "meh" for the man in #28 in purple and gold. That's why there is still, really, no debate as to who the best running back in the National Football League is, even when he doesn't quite reach his own lofty standards.