Is Adrian Peterson a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
The Minnesota Vikings running back certainly has a had a prolific NFL career thus far. This past Sunday, he passed both Tiki Barber and Eddie George to move into 25th place on the all-time rushing list. The players directly ahead of Peterson are Thomas Jones, Jamal Lewis and Ricky Watters. It's not like those three are being mentioned as future no-doubt Hall of Famers.
So how high does Peterson need to get to further ensure his legacy? A good bet would be to make into the top 15 of the NFL's all-time rushing leaders.
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Of the top 14, 12 are in the Hall of Fame and surely LaDainian Tomlinson (No. 5 all-time rusher) will make it 13. The other is Edgerrin James, who would seem more of a longshot.
In the 15-25 range, only two are in the Hall -- John Riggins (No. 17 all-time rusher) and O.J. Simpson(No. 20). Along with Peterson, one other in that range group is active -- Indianapolis' Frank Gore (currently No. 18). Steven Jackson (No. 16) is also on the list, but he is presently not on an NFL roster.
Of the rest of the top rushers, from 25-250, only two are in the Hall of Fame that played after 1980: Earl Campbell (No. 33, final season 1985) and Steve Young (No. 176), who was a quarterback.
If Peterson stays healthy this year, he has a chance to catch Taylor at No. 15. He trails the former Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots running back by 1,214 yards, meaning Peterson would need to average 93.3 rushing yards in Minnesota's final 13 games to tie Taylor for 15th all-time.
If Peterson remains productive this year and next, he should be able to reach the top 10, which would all but solidify him making the Hall of Fame.
Here's the top 25 rushers in NFL history (by the way, like Peterson so far, only three others in the top 25 played for one team in their career). Gore's and Peterson's statistics are through Week 3 of the 2015 season. * - denotes in Pro Football Hall of Fame
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