Childress: Peterson is the best in the NFL

September 2nd, 2009 – 4:18 PM by Judd Zulgad

It should come as no surprise that Brad Childress might be a little biased when it comes to Adrian Peterson.

Childress has watched Peterson make life miserable for opposing defenses since the Vikings drafted the running back seventh overall in 2007. Last season, Peterson won the rushing title. So when Childress was asked today about recent comments by LaDainian Tomlinson in which the San Diego Chargers superstar took umbrage with being put behind Peterson as a running back, Childress did not hesitate.

“LaDainian is a hell of a back and he’s entitled to his opinion,” Childress said. “I’m going to tell you, my guy is the best football player in the National Football League and he’s the best running back in the National Football League and I believe that.” 

In case you missed it, Tomlinson made his remarks in a recent story by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. The piece centered on the fact Tomlinson is coming off a tough season in which he battled injuries. Tomlinson’s comments about Peterson came as a reply to former NFL great Jim Brown, who praised Peterson in a piece that ran in The Sporting News.

Here’s what Tomlinson told the L.A. Times: ”Jim Brown was telling Peterson he’s the best runner he’d seen in a long time. I was sitting there reading it thinking, ‘Wow.’ The difference with me is you can put me out on that field and there will be nothing I can’t do. I won’t have to come off the field. Adrian has to come off sometimes on third down. Running routes, he’s still not there yet. Great downhill runner, powerful, fast, all that stuff. … But anything on that field you want me to do — throw it, block — I can do it. That’s what I pride myself on is not having any weaknesses. And that’s what makes me the best back.”

Tomlinson is right in that Peterson has often come out of games in his first two seasons on third-down and in two-minute situations because of concerns about his ability in pass protection.

But Peterson, who opened the Vikings’ preseason victory over Houston on Monday with a 75-yard touchdown run, didn’t seem bothered by Tomlinson’s remarks. “It really doesn’t matter,” Peterson said of who is called the best. “But it’s Jim Brown so I can see why it would definitely touch a nerve. The only thing I try to do is try to be the best, complete player that I can be and that means during the offseason if there’s things that I can improve on, that make my game better, that will help the team, then those are things that I do. So, that’s what I’m going to continue to focus on and continue to do and I’ll let everyone else voice their opinion.”

Peterson said he finds stories like this “hilarious.” Why?

“Because it can be some of the smallest things to me that get blown up out of proportion and you get people to act on it and they respond on it and they’ve got their different opinions about this and about that. They just get carried away, so it’s kind of funny.”

Childress, asked where Peterson ranks among running backs he has seen during his time in football, cautioned it’s too early to make any definte statement.  ”[Peterson's] body of work is just a few years,” Childress said. “So I think a guy like LaDainian, who has been doing it a little bit longer and doing it very well for a long period of time, the staying power is important as well.”

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