If you’re named Adrian Peterson, chances are that a team in the NFC North will make sure to have you on the roster. Everybody knows about current Lions RB Adrian Peterson, who spent nearly a decade carving up opposing defenses as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. But, what about the other guy?
During the sixth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected a running back from Georgia Southern by the name of… Adrian Peterson. He was AP, before there was an AP. According to his Pro Football Reference page, no nicknames exist for this Peterson.
No matter how things wind up going for the new Lions RB, the original will just be known as the OTHER running back named Adrian Peterson. That’s what happens when you run for 1,283 career yards, while the REAL AP had 2,097 yards in a single season.
The College Days
When he was playing for Georgia Southern, AP 1.0 was an absolute beast. He put up numbers that you see your friend have when he/she plays Madden on rookie difficulty. In his for years, there were 93 rushing touchdowns, 7,590 yards, and an average carry of nearly seven yards.
Surprisingly, the crazy production from AP 1.0 was not enough to earn him the chance to be drafted high. He fell all the way to the sixth round, where the Bears took a chance on him. He ran the ball just 19 times during his first season in Chicago, though.
AP 1.0 was one of the best backs in all of college football during his four years playing in the Sun Belt Conference. He is in the college football Hall of Fame. And his brother Mike spent 14 years in the NFL as a linebacker. The late Freddie Solomon, a receiver who won two Super Bowls with the 49ers, is his cousin. The bloodlines run deep.
His Time in Chicago
AP 1.0 spent eight years with the Chicago Bears from 2002-09. He was primarily used on special teams, though he did get some opportunities on offense. After carrying the ball just 47 times through three years, Peterson accumulated 76 rushing attempts during the 2005 season. He picked up 291 yards and scored a pair of TD’s.
After hardly being used during the Super Bowl season in 2006, Peterson became a big producer the following year. He took over as the starting back with injuries to the two guys in front of him. He rushed 151 times for 510 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He caught 51 passes for 420 yards, 15 of them going for first downs.
2007 marked the only year where AP 1.0 was relevant in fantasy football. It’s funny that his first season being an option also saw AP 2.0 entering the NFL. The Vikings Peterson rushed for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hopefully, nobody mixed them up when making roster moves.
But AP 1.0 was a great teammate. The fact that he stuck eight years is very telling of what the staff thought of him. A hard worker who played his role, whatever it was for the given game. If he needed to handle carries, so be it. If he only plays on special teams, that was fine too.
What Adrian Peterson is up to Today
After being cut by the Seahawks in 2010 training camp, Peterson was selected by the Virginia Destroyers in the third-round of the UFL Draft, giving his football career one final chapter. He ran the ball four times for 15 yards.
And in 2018, AP 1.0 got the opportunity to return to where he had some of his best days. On February 13th of the year, he returned to Georgia Southern as director of student-athlete development for the University’s football team.
So, now you know the story of the OTHER running back named Adrian Peterson. He didn’t break any records or win any awards, but he was a constant for the Bears for eight years.