Adrian Peterson remarkably came back from an ACL injury to lead the NFL in rushing yards for the 2012 season. Peterson has helped the Minnesota Vikings into the NFL Playoffs and is along with Peyton Manning is a favorite for the MVP Award. However, Peterson’s season may be just an average one if he can accomplish his future goals.
Peterson wants to run in the 2016 Summer Olympics, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Peterson has gone on record saying he thinks he can beat Usain Bolt, the “World’s Fastest Man.” Peterson said, “I know a lot of people laugh and be like, ‘come on, let’s be real with yourself—it’s Usain Bolt,’ but I feel like you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
This would be quite the accomplishment for Peterson, who will turn 31 in 2016. Peterson has not run official foot races since his track and field days in high school. Olympic athletes train all their lives for events like the 200 and 400 meter runs, in which Peterson is attempting to take part. Peterson hopes to compete in the Penn Relays as an unaffiliated runner to showcase his talent against the United States best.
In 1992, former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL running back Herschel Walker thought he could win an Olympic medal with the United States bobsled team. While with the Vikings, Walker qualified at the end of the season to be a part of the two man team. Walker had to settle for a seventh place finish in the 1992 Winter Olympics. Several athletes have won Olympic medals and played in the NFL, including Bob Hayes and Jim Thorpe. While Peterson has had a great year, he won’t be able to win a medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Peterson also isn’t the first person to say they can beat Bolt. Chris Johnson, considered the fastest running back in the NFL said, “I feel like if I would have kept training for track I’d have a chance, but I play football and he runs track, so it’s totally different. I think I could still probably beat him in the 40.”
University of Michigan quarterback Dernard Robinson said he could beat Bolt in the 40 yard dash as well. Dernard had this to say, “At 60 yards, I’d be in trouble, and at 100 meters, he’d be gone, but I could get him at 40.” Robinson at least recognizes that just because you have a fast 40 yard dash doesn’t mean you can take on the World’s fastest man.
Peterson posted a 4.4 40 yard dash time at the 2007 NFL Scouting Combine. To put that number into comparison, Johnson ran a 4.24, which is the fastest recorded electronically at a scouting combine. Robinson ran a 4.32 in high school, prior to his days as a Wolverine. If both of these players recognize that Bolt could outrun them in the longer distances, why can’t Peterson?
Perhaps Peterson thinks his bloodline gives him an advantage. Peterson’s mother was a sprinter and long jumper at the University of Houston. Peterson ran track in high school competing in many of the events his mother once excelled at. Adrian was a long jumper, triple jumper, and sprinter in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. His fastest listed 100 meter time of 10.33 would come up well short of Bolt, who continuously posts times under the 10 second level.
The Vikings drafted Peterson with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Tonight, he will lead the Vikings in a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Hopefully he will be content with playing in the NFL and drop this silly Olympics talk.