Adrian Peterson MVP FRONT-RUNNER
The third-year Vikings back has run for 272 yards—180 against the Browns and 92 on Sunday against the Lions—and four TDs
Dan Patrick: Who would you take if you were starting a team right now: You or Matt Ryan?
Adrian Peterson: [Long pause] Probably me.
DP: You debated there. Were you being humble?
AP: I know how important it is to have a good quarterback, so that's why I debated a little bit. But it doesn't hurt to have a playmaker at the running back position either.
DP: How is Brett Favre different in the huddle from what you expected?
AP: He's everything I imagined. You hear about his style and how he might go in and change a play the coach called. I've seen little hints of that already.
DP: But he's also a little goofy in the huddle, isn't he?
AP: Yeah. He's a funny guy. You can't do anything but enjoy it.
DP: Where do you rank your 64-yard run against the Browns?
AP: Let me see.... Maybe in the top 10, top five.
DP: Do you know any of the defensive guys you brushed off?
AP: Yeah, Brodney Pool, one of my fellow Sooners.
DP: Did you talk after the game?
AP: Yeah. He was shaking his head.
DP: Did you feel bad for him?
AP: Uh, no.
DP: Would you have preferred it if he were a Longhorn?
AP: That'd be cool too, but he's a Cleveland Brown now. We've got ties as Sooner brothers, but when it's time to step on the field on different teams, I don't know you.
DP: On the cover of SI two weeks ago you were called the Dominator. Are you O.K. with that as a nickname, or do you prefer All Day?
AP: All Day is something I've been carrying since I was young, so that's not going anywhere. But the Dominator is cool too. There's a lot of names out there.
DP: If you weren't, who is the one running back you'd want to watch?
AP: [Vikings backup] Chester Taylor.
DP: [Laughs] Oh, don't go there. You're a very good team player, I like that. But I'm talking about a starting running back.
AP: I'd have to go with LT or Frank Gore.
DP: Why Frank Gore?
AP: I've been watching Frank since [he was at] Miami. Since he's been in the league, he's really had some bad luck with the knee injury. It kind of slowed him down. But other than that, that guy does it all. He catches the ball good, blocks good, and his running style is unique. He plays the game with a passion that a lot of guys don't play with. That's why I like watching him.
DP: Tony Dungy was on earlier, and he said he thinks you can challenge Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record [of 2,105 yards, set in 1984]. How possible is that?
AP: It's possible with the talent we've got offensively. And a big part of it is our defense—they get the offense back on the field when they get those three-and-outs. The talent we have around us, and having Brett back there to balance out the offense and keep teams honest, it's possible it could happen.
DP: Do you expect to be in the Super Bowl?
AP: Yeah. I expected to be in the Super Bowl even before Brett came. We've got all the tools in the toolbox to be able to put this run together.
Tony Stewart has been advising Danica Patrick, who's been contemplating a switch to NASCAR from the IRL. Stewart made the same switch in '99. Now a car owner, Stewart said he'd like to find a way to help her out. "She's the first female who has a shot at doing it right," he told me. "It would be really cool to be part of giving her the tools to accomplish those goals."
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez talked about the NCAA investigation into complaints by some of his players that they were being overworked in violation of NCAA rules. He said most players were eager to put in extra work. "In the springtime [players] were calling us to open the building—30, 40 kids would come in," Rodriguez told me. "I think our fans appreciate that our guys are trying to get to a championship level."
Line of the week
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach thinks former WR Michael Crabtree, who left after two seasons and is now holding out from the 49ers, is getting bad advice. When I asked Leach if he advised Crabtree, he said, "If he followed my advice, he'd still be at Texas Tech."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Miami coach Randy Shannon discusses QB Jacory Harris.
2. Mike Scioscia defends his recent criticism of MLB umps.
THE FINE PRINT: Serena Williams is now a part-owner of the Dolphins. Good. Maybe Ricky Williams has something that can help her chill out.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/IDEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
NIGEL KINRADE/AUTOSTOCK (STEWART)
RICHEY MILLER/CAL SPORT MEDIA (LEACH)
MATTHEW EMMONS/US PRESSWIRE (PETERSON)