Make no mistake, the Saints acquired a winner. In fact, there’s evidence that the best is yet to some from Mr. Adrian Peterson.
Who Dat Nation’s response was optimistic when the Saints signed running back Adrian Peterson yesterday. That being said, most of the experts and fans agree that Peterson will be used sparingly. The thought of a 32 year old running back making waves is unheard of right? Not so fast…
There is a short list of running backs over 30 years old that have eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in the 95 year history in the NFL. There were 46 to be exact. Taking that a little further, there were four running backs 31 years old that topped 1,400 yards in one season. The players that accomplished this feat were: Tiki Barber, Curtis Martin, Walter Payton, and Thomas Jones. The accomplishment is rare to say the least.
However, there were three guys in NFL history that did surpass 1,000 yards over the age of 33. A couple of players nearly hit 36 years of age. Those two were none other than John Riggins and John Henry Johnson.
John Riggins played in the league for 14 years. He was one of a kind. Riggins was a bulldozer that played half the time at fullback but hit his stride when he went to the Redskins as more of a running back. Riggins ran for 1,347 yards on 375 carries in 1983 at the age of 34. In 1984, he followed that up, with a mere 1,239 yards on 327 carries at the age of 35. He finally slowed down to 677 yards on 176 carries the next year. His 46 touchdowns in those three years was simply incredible.
Now the other player John Henry Johnson was a bit before my time. Johnson eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark at the ages of 33 and 35. Ironically, as I dug deeper, Johnson was born in none other than Waterproof, Louisiana. To say Johnson was tough is an understatement. Former linebacker Wayne Walker from the Detroit Lions had this to say.
"“If you didn’t keep your eye on him, next thing you know you’d have your jaw wired.”"
Jim Brown also viewed Johnson as one of the best running backs in history. His toughness was evident to many.
Will Adrian Peterson measure up to these greats at the young age of 32? Time will tell. Just don’t bet against A.P. He might just run you over at the age of 34.