Vikings' Peterson: I have my eyes set on Emmitt's career mark

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson doesn't just want to be the best running back in NFL history; he wants to be the best player, period. So he's set goals for himself, and one of them is to break Emmitt Smith's career rushing record. At 30, that won't be easy for Peterson, but he said he plans to play until he's 36 or 37.

Emmitt Smith photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys
Emmitt Smith photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys

(Adrian Peterson photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)

(Emmitt Smith photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)

Talk of Fame Network

Once upon a time, the magic number for running backs going to Canton was 10,000 yards. But over half of the 29 backs with that many – including LaDainian Tomlinson, who’s fifth on the all-time list but isn't yet eligible – aren’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

So what, then, is the magic number?

We asked Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, who not only is a premier back but one of the 29 who reached 10,000 yards. And while he didn’t exactly give us a number for others, he did tell us the figure he has in mind.

“I have my eyes on Emmitt Smith (and) the all-time leading rushing record,” he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “That’s something I shoot for as a running back and as a personal goal. I play this game to be the best player who ever played … not just the best running back. So that’s definitely a goal that I’m shooting for."

At 18,355 yards, Smith has a substantial lead on Peterson, who ranks 25th at 10,562 and counting. But the 30-year-old Peterson told the Talk of FameNetwork that he plans to play at least five more years and believes he can catch the former Dallas Cowboys’ Hall of Famer before he retires.

“I feel like it’s up for grabs," he said of Smith's record. "It’s going to take some hard work and dedication, but that’s what got me here so far. So I know what it takes. It’s just all about getting it done.

“I honestly I feel like I can play … the way my body feels … until I’m 37. Will I play that long? I don’t know. I feel like it comes down to my love for the game (and) my love for the game now is real strong. Will it be that way four or five years from now? I don’t know. I would have to wait and see.

“But I eye that record because I believe in myself, and I believe that I can play this game until I’m 35, 36 or 37. Barring any career-ending injury, I feel can play this game a long period of time. With that, I feel like Emmitt Smith’s record is right there in my sights.”

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