(WCCO) — The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee has picked ex-Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson for the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. The list includes only 53 of the NFL’s best players. Eligibility was limited to players selected to a Pro Bowl, Associated Press All-Pro team or Pro Football Writers Association all-conference team.
Peterson, one of only eight unanimous selections to last decade’s team, played for the Vikings from 2007-2016. (The illustrious shortlist of unanimous picks also includes such obvious first-ballot Hall of Famers as quarterback Tom Brady and linebacker Von Miller.) His playing days have continued, in 2017 with the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals and since 2018 with the Washington Redskins. But his time in purple still defines his impressive career.
The Vikings drafted Peterson out of Oklahoma in 2007 with the seventh pick in the first round. An upright runner in the mold of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson a generation before him, Peterson, at 6’1″, 220 pounds, was a force out of the backfield. He was big, he was fast, and he was agile. Despite injury concerns coming out of college, Peterson hit the ground running his rookie year, turning 238 carries into 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. He won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors that year.
By the time the 2010s rolled around, Peterson was well established among the NFL’s best running backs, with three Pro Bowls and a rushing title under his belt. It would get better. In the decade for which he’s honored, Peterson made four more Pro Bowls and led the League in rushing two more times. In 2012, the Vikings running back ran for 2097 yards on 348 carries, averaging six yards per attempt. That rushing yardage total remains the second best for the single season in NFL history. He ended the decade with over 10,000 yards on the ground.
The Vikings drafted Patterson late in the first round, six years after selecting Peterson. The wide receiver out of Tennessee was reasonably effective in the passing game, hauling in 45 passes at over 10 yards per catch his rookie year. But he proved more dangerous on special teams, where he quickly became one of the game’s most feared returners. In his second game, against the Chicago Bears, he retuned the opening kickoff 105 yards. In Week 8, this time against the Green Bay Packers, Patterson returned the opening kickoff 109 yards. The latter set an NFL record for the longest play that can never be broken.
The selection committee first started picking all-decade teams in 1969 to celebrate the NFL’s 50th season. It’s been a tradition ever since.