During the Bob Stoops era, the Oklahoma Sooners have helped 104 players move on to the NFL. There have been some great names throughout the years, some have gone on to be great in the NFL, others just spent a couple seasons there, and some didn’t get past the practice squad. Looking at the 25 players that are currently listed on an NFL roster and going back through the ones that have come and gone, one name stands out: Adrian Peterson.
It is my opinion, and I don’t even think its close when looking at them, that AD is the best player to have come out during the Stoops era. He keeps getting better as time goes on. That’s not something that happens often to NFL running backs. Peterson was drafted seventh by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2007 draft. Many questioned how well he would do, saying that durability may be an issue; I don’t think that’s an unanswered question anymore.
In AD’s freshman year at Oklahoma, he broke several freshman running back records, led the nation in carries and ran for 100+ yards in his first nine games in a Sooner uniform. He also came in second place in the 2004 Heisman Trophy ceremony, with Matt Leinart of USC coming in first and the previous year’s winner, Jason White coming in third.
He did suffer injuries in both his sophomore and junior years, but neither were season ending. During his junior year, he was out 4-6 weeks due to a broken collarbone, he returned to play in the infamous Boise State statue of liberty Fiesta Bowl. He only needed 150 yards to become the Sooners all-time leading rusher at the time of his injury, surpassing Billy Sims. He only had 77 yards during the Fiesta Bowl, making him 73 yards short.
To all Sooner fans dismay, AD decided to forgo his senior year with the Sooners and head to the Pros. His first year in, he won the AP Offensive Player of the Year, and now has been to 4 Pro Bowls and is the Vikings all-time leading rusher. Now he is on the verge of breaking a rushing record that hasn’t been touched in 30 years.
Peterson’s 212 yards on Sunday puts him on track to break the great Eric Dickerson‘s single-season rushing record. He is sitting at a career best of 1812 yards on the season. Dickerson set the record in 1984, with 2105 yards in one season, putting Peterson 293 yards shy of getting there.
Over the last eight games, Peterson has rushed for over 1300 yards, the most of any RB in an eight game span in NFL history. He did this all after making an injury comeback, tearing his ACL and just 11 months after surgery, is the best back in the NFL. To use one of Stoops’ favorite descriptive words, he is “special”.
If Peterson isn’t the NFL MVP this season, there is something wrong with the voters. You can call me biased and a homer all you want, but the fact remains the same: AD has had one of the best comeback seasons of any player we’ve seen in a very long time.
He is the best player to come out of Oklahoma during the Stoops era, hands down. Big 12 defenses couldn’t figure out a way to stop him and neither can the NFL. If you have a better player in mind, I’ll gladly listen but will most likely disagree… All Day.