Gil Brandt of NFL.com is continuing his series of lists of the all-time greatest players at every position, and he’s moved on to the running back spot. Not surprisingly, former Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson is on the list, as Brandt has him ranked at #14 on his list of the 25 greatest running backs of all time.
As was the case when we looked at his list of quarterbacks that included Fran Tarkenton, having Peterson at #14 seems about right. He’s pretty clearly the best running back of his generation, and that’s reflected in the lack of backs from recent years that are on Brandt’s list. And, as was the case with Tarkenton, I’m not sure which of the guys ahead of Peterson on the list you would jump him ahead of to move him up the list. Maybe Curtis Martin, but I think Martin’s on the short list of the most underrated running backs ever, to be honest.
Peterson is also the only back on the list with any connection to the Vikings. Even some of the guys that played a random year or two with a team other than the one they’re primarily associated with didn’t spend any time in Minnesota.
Brandt is clearly focused on the on-field aspect of this. . .witness O.J. Simpson coming in at #10. . .and that’s the way lists like this should be. Much like the Hall of Fame isn’t the Hall of Congeniality, if you’re talking about all-time greats in the game of football, the off-field stuff should be pretty meaningless.
One that I could see people potentially having an issue with is Brandt putting Vincent Edward BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Jackson at #4 on his list, and based on the lack of statistics that Jackson put up in his abbreviated career, I guess that could be considered legitimate. Honestly, though. . .if Bo Jackson had ever committed full-time to the National Football League, he would have been on everyone’s short list of the all-time greatest at the position. It’s a damn shame that he didn’t, and an even greater shame that his career was cut short by injury.
I’m assuming that Brandt will be putting together a wide receiver list here pretty soon. If so, there will definitely be a couple of Minnesota Vikings on that one.