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Adrian Peterson: I could have gone straight from high school to NFL

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson throughout his football career has been able to overcome obstacle after obstacle to become one of the greatest running backs of the current era and arguably of all-time. With that in mind, perhaps the Minnesota Vikings running back should be believed when he insists that he could have gone straight from high school to the NFL.

Peterson made the boast during a conference call with Denver media members ahead of the Vikings’ showdown Sunday with the Broncos.

“Not to sound cocky or anything, or confident, but yeah I do feel like I could have came out my senior year of high school and played in the NFL,” Peterson said, via ESPN. “I really do. And I’ll just say this, people were like ‘well, physically you just weren’t ready.’ I came in my freshman year and I was up for the Heisman, had a pretty good season, was the leading rusher.”

In his senior season at Palestine High School (Tex.), Peterson rushed for 2,960 yards on 252 attempts, scoring 32 touchdowns. In his freshman year with the Oklahoma Sooners, he carried the ball 339 times — and NCAA freshman record — for 1,925 yards, finishing in second behind Matt Leinart in Heisman Trophy voting. He also was named a Doak Walker Award finalist, losing to Cedric Benson, something that Peterson says sticks in his craw to this day.

“I feel like I was a better player than him,” he said. “And so it’s like I’m a true freshman and if Cedric can go in [to the NFL] and play, then why couldn’t I do it?”

Peterson arguably could have played in the NFL straight out of high school, but the rules obviously prohibited him. But given how he takes any challenge head-on and overcomes it — like when many said he would never be the same back after blowing out his knee in 2011 … only to come up just short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record and win league MVP the very next season.

All things considered, if there ever was any running back who could have gone from high school straight to the NFL, Peterson was probably the guy.