Top 50 Players of 2016: Best Running Back of Current Era Still Going Strong

(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.)

Name:Adrian Peterson
Team:Minnesota Vikings
Position: Running Back
Height/Weight: 6-1 / 217
Experience:9 seasons
College:Oklahoma

2016 vs. Cowboys:The Cowboys will travel to Minnesota for their first-ever game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Thursday, Dec. 1.

What's the Deal:After missing all but one game in 2014, Peterson came back strong last year, leading the league with 1,485 rushing yards, his third-highest total of his career.  He also had a NFL-best 11 rushing touchdowns.

As expected, Peterson is climbing up the rushing charts, currently 17th on the all-time list. With 11,675 yards, Peterson has a shot to move into the Top 10 this season. If he were to duplicate his 2015 totals this year, Peterson would surpass the 13,000 mark and move past Tony Dorsett (12,739) for eighth place in the NFL history.

Expect This:The Vikings, under head coach Mike Zimmer, have become the bruising, hard-hitting team that fits his personality. It's not just on defense but the Vikings are a power team offensively, thanks to the running style of Peterson. What makes him so unique is his ability to break off long runs as well. But expect the Vikings to establish him early and often against the Cowboys' run defense. Even if Peterson is slowed early in games, he keeps getting ball. The Cowboys will have to commit to stopping the run, which could always leave them vulnerable to the big play in the passing game.

Previous Meetings: Peterson has faced the Cowboys three times and his teams are just 1-2 against Dallas. While he has been held in check for two of the games, Peterson has increased his rushing totals in every contest, including 140 yards in a 2013 loss. Peterson has scored at least one rushing touchdown in every game he's played against the Cowboys.

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • Rare player in this league. Powerful, strong, quick, and fast. Been extremely productive over his entire career. Opponents know that he is getting the ball and is still unable to stop him.
  • Has always had good quickness, agility, and balance for position. Is hard to knock off his feet. Classic downhill runner.
  • Gets yards after initial contact. Will blast through tacklers. Makes the long breakaway runs. Once he hits the hole and gets into the 2nd level, he can finish runs. Sudden initial quickness out of backfield.
  • Gets stronger the more he carries the ball. Peripheral vision and cutback ability. Good awareness and ability to make the defenders miss. Game breaker. Open field runner. Hits holes at full speed.
  • Is an upright runner but is able to lower his pads to punishes tacklers. Can't be arm tackled. Have to get bodies to the ball in order to bring him down. Doesn't go down easily.
  • Has the ability to make big plays every time he touches the ball.
  • Catches the ball in his hands on screens and flat routes. Very underrated in the way he is used out of the backfield as a pass catcher. Lateral moves and quickness as needed.
  • Well built, muscular and solid.
  • Physical pass blocker. Has never been afraid to carry out his assignments.
  • Complete running back in every sense of the word. Has an injury history but always appears to come back stronger than before. At 31 years old doesn't appear to be slowing down. Better offensive weapons around him will help to extend his career.  

The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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