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Vikings RB Adrian Peterson to Chase History at 31



Vikings running back Adrian Peterson claimed his third career NFL rushing title in 2015 as he rushed for 1,485 yards and tied for the league lead with 11 touchdowns.

But Peterson, who turned 31 years old Monday, isn't planning on slowing down anytime soon.

After yet another impressive season by Peterson,'s Ben Goessling examined what Peterson could accomplish as he gets older.

Statistically, though, it would be markedly more impressive for Peterson to reach that rushing total this fall than it was for him to do it at age 30. There's most certainly a cliff for running backs after age 29; in NFL history, 58 running backs have surpassed 1,000 yards at age 28, and while the number drops to 46 at age 29, it declines by almost half every year after that (to 24 at age 30, 12 at age 31, six at age 32, two at age 33 and only three at all ages over that).

So while Peterson's 2015 output was extraordinary — he became the first 30-something rushing champion since Curtis Martin in 2004 and posted the fifth-most yards by a 30-yard-old back in NFL history — he'll be looking to beat even longer odds in the follow-up season.

Peterson, who has always kept himself in marvelous shape, could be looking at a historic season in 2016.

Peterson often said he thought there was too much fuss about him turning 30 last season, and has added he doesn't believe the rules about age apply to him. The longer he defies them, though, the more remarkable his achievements will be. If Peterson reproduces his 1,485-yard season in 2016, he'd have the fourth-best season in NFL history at that age, behind Martin (1,697 yards in 2004), Tiki Barber (1,662 yards in 2006) and Walter Payton (1,551 yards in 1985). Peterson wouldn't even have to surpass 1,200 yards to have one of the 10 best age-31 season of all time; Warrick Dunn's 1,140 yards in 2006 currently ranks in the 10th spot.

Peterson is second among active players with 11,675 rushing yards, trailing only Indianapolis running back Frank Gore. He's also second among active players with 102 career touchdowns behind San Diego tight end Antonio Gates, who has 104.

Smith signing gets solid grade

Bill Barnwell of is grading each major free agent signing this offseason.

Barnwell gave the Vikings a 'B' for their recent signing of offensive linemen Andre Smith, who spent the last seven years with the Bengals.

I'm not sure whether the Vikings' offensive line will be great next year, but man*, it's going to have some big dudes. Alex Boone, Phil Loadholt and now Smith? At 6-foot-4, Smith is the smallest of the bunch, but his listed weight of 300 pounds seems like a conservative interpretation. At his best, Smith is a mauling right tackle with the athleticism to hold up against upper-echelon pass-rushers, but we haven't seen him at his best since 2013. *

Possible impact of offensive line

A.J. Mansour for wrote a post that listed **five ways** the Vikings additions to the offensive line will help the overall offense.

Teddy Bridgewater, Peterson and Vikings tight ends were among the people Mansour listed that could benefit from the offensive line's continued development.

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