Of all the numbers in our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series, few have had as little doubt surrounding them as the number 28. It belongs to the player that might be the best and most dynamic player the Minnesota Vikings have had since I became a fan, and clearly the best player at his position in the history of the team.
The Vikings didn’t need to draft Adrian Peterson with the seventh pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, as they had a 1,200-yard rusher in Chester Taylor. But they selected him anyway, and he went on to be the best running back of his generation by a significant margin. He burst onto the scene with a huge 224-yard, three touchdown performance against the Chicago Bears in his fifth career game, and topped that a few weeks later when he set the single-game NFL rushing record with a 296-yard performance against the San Diego Chargers at the Metrodome.
He would go on to be the 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the first of his seven Pro Bowl selections as a member of the Vikings. He won the first of his three rushing titles the next season, and would lead the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2009. In 2011, he suffered an awful knee injury that would have been a serious problem for most lesser running backs, but he responded with one of the greatest seasons for a running back in NFL history. He rushed for 2,097 yards, nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, and was named the NFL Most Valuable Player for that season.
Peterson won his third rushing title in 2015, but missed almost all of 2016 with a knee problem. With a big payday coming up in the final season of his contract, the team made the decision to part ways with Peterson, who went on to sign with the New Orleans Saints.
Adrian Peterson owns every significant rushing record in Vikings’ history by a significant margin, and it’s going to be a long time before a Minnesota running back threatens any of those marks. There are a number of players that could be argued as the greatest player to put on the purple, but Adrian Peterson is definitely on the short list.
We do need to give an Honorable Mention to a guy that will be inducted into the Minnesota Vikings’ Ring of Honor this year, and that’s wide receiver Ahmad Rashad. Rashad was the fourth overall pick of the 1972 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, but only played with them for two seasons. He then played a year with the Buffalo Bills and then missed an entire season before signing with the Vikings before the 1976 season. He was a four-time Pro Bowler with the Vikings, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time.
Rashad also had two very unique plays in his career. As a rookie with the Cardinals, he set the record for the longest play from scrimmage that didn’t score a touchdown. With the Cardinals at the 1-yard line, he caught a pass from quarterback Jim Hart and was tackled all the way down at the other 1-yard line, a 98-yard reception that didn’t result in a score. Of course, most Vikings fans know him from his other famous catch.
But, this number clearly belongs to Peterson, and it’s pretty likely that nobody is going to pick the number up again for quite a while.
Vikings that have worn the number 28:
- Dick Haley (1961)
- Tom Hall (1964 - 1966)
- Earl Denny (1967 - 1968)
- Ted Provost (1970)
- Ahmad Rashad (1976 - 1982)
- Ted Rosnagle (1985 - 1987)
- Izel Jenkins (1993)
- James Stewart (1995)
- Anthony Phillips (1998)
- Robert Tate (1999 - 2001)
- Larry Ned (2003 - 2004)
- Laroni Gallishaw (2005)
- Rashad Baker (2006)
- Adrian Peterson (2007 - 2016)
That does it for the number 28, folks. On to the number 27 tomorrow!