The trait that turns a good player into a great player, aside from supreme talent, is that even though they already perform at a superior level, they are never satisfied and will never stop working to be the best.
“It’s really working on discipline, adding a couple pounds and putting them in the right spot; my legs, arms, and upper body a little bit,” Peterson said when asked what his offseason focus was in 2009. “I was able to do a good job. I worked on some minor things I looked at from last season, things I can correct and improve on along with studying film.”
You’d think that to critique a player who has established himself as perhaps the most electrifying player in the game is nitpicky. But there’s much more to being the best RB in the league than just gaining yardage on the ground. Being great at the little things makes a difference, too.
“Route running is key for him,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell explained. “As many balls as he can catch is key for him, as well as just his run game footwork, we talk about that often. About the steps he is taking, how he presents himself at the hole and how he sets up his block. All those things we continue to work on and never take for granted.”
Another trait of Peterson’s that makes him great is his goal setting. Peterson is known for setting high goals for himself, and most of the time he ends up reaching them. And while a superstar talent such as Peterson is capable of attaining impressive individual goals, his initial focus is always on the team.
“My goal is doing whatever I can to contribute, whether that is on special teams or punt return,” Peterson said. “Anything to make this team the best team when we step on the field.”
As for personal goals, Peterson said rushing for 2,000 yards is something he “thinks about and dreams about” and that winning league MVP honors is also something that fits into his personal goals.
Not everyone in the NFL can set goals such as a 2,000-yard rushing season or becoming the league’s MVP. But Peterson is one player who can.
And that’s just part of the reason why he is great.