Peterson sets sights on Emmitt Smith’s record, and soon

By now it’s become foolish to doubt anything Vikings running back Adrian Peterson puts his mind to, but his target date to eclipse Emmitt Smith’s rushing record is a stretch even for him.

Peterson, in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, predicted he will top Smith’s career rushing record of 18,355 yards in Week 17 of the 2017 season.

That means Peterson needs to average 120.3 yards over the next 79 games (9,506 yards total) to supplant the Cowboys legend as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

Peterson admitted that’s a lofty goal.

“That’s pushing it, huh?” Peterson told the Star Tribune. “But hey, pushing it is the only way to do it. You know it.”

Peterson has rushed for 8,849 yards in seven seasons, which puts him not even halfway to Smith’s record. He’s on a pace, barring injury, to pass Smith in Week 4 of the 2019 season.

Breaking the record two years early would be a truly superhuman feat. But then again, this is the guy who came nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105 yards that’s stood since 1984. And he did that coming back from a major knee surgery.

If anyone can catch Smith’s record that quickly, it’s the former Oklahoma Sooners star.  Still, Emmitt probably doesn’t need to start sweating for a couple more seasons.

Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire