Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Petersonthinks he could have made the jump to the NFL from high school.
On Wednesday, Peterson spoke with Denver media on a conference call and stated he could have forgone his three years at the University of Oklahoma and headed right to the big show, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold:
Not to sound cocky or anything, or confident, but yeah, I do feel like I could have came out my senior year of high school and played in the NFL. I really do. And I’ll just say this, people were like “well, physically you just weren’t ready.” I came in my freshman year and I was up for the Heisman, had a pretty good season, was the leading rusher.
According to Legwold, Peterson rushed for 2,960 yards and 32 touchdowns in his senior year at Palestine High School in Texas. He followed that with 1,925 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman at Oklahoma.
The discussion meandered to this topic thanks to the mention of LSU standout running back Leonard Fournette, who has captivated the nation with two consecutive 200-plus-yard rushing games.
Fournette, a sophomore, has to wait three years after graduating high school to enter the draft, just like Peterson did. That rule makes him eligible in the spring of 2017.
While some believe Fournette is ready now as a sophomore, Peterson thought he was ready for the NFL after his first big year as a freshman in 2004:
And there were guys that went in the league that year, like Cedric Benson, I felt like my freshman year I should have won the Doak Walker Award [for the nation’s top college running back], but they gave it to him — I kind of got off topic there. But anyway … I feel like I was a better player than him. And so it’s like, “I’m a true freshman, and if Cedric can go in [to the NFL] and play, then why couldn’t I do it?”