Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson Named to NFL All-Decade Team; Harrison Smith Snubbed
Former Vikings stars Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson have been named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 2010s. The NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 52 players and two coaches making up the team on Monday.
Peterson was one of just eight unanimous selections, and is joined by Frank Gore, LeSean McCoy, and Marshawn Lynch as the four running backs named to the team. Peterson was third in rushing yards in the 2010s with 9,732, trailing only McCoy and Gore. That's despite missing two full seasons in 2014 and 2016.
Peterson, who had already recorded three straight seasons of 1,300 or more rushing yards (2007-2009) when the 2010s began, was still playing at a high level when the decade ended. He was named NFL MVP in 2012 when he returned from an ACL injury to record 2,097 rushing yards, nine shy of Eric Dickerson's single-season record. Peterson won the third rushing title of his career in 2015 at age 30, which was sandwiched between two lost seasons; he missed the majority of the 2014 season due to a child abuse case and missed 2016 with an injury. Peterson also recorded 1,000-yard seasons as a Viking in 2010 and 2013.
He left the Vikings in 2017 after ten seasons and four First Team All-Pro honors, and bounced between the Saints and Cardinals for a year. But Peterson has found a late-career resurgence with Washington since then, posting 1,042 yards in 2018 and 898 last season.
Here's the full All-Decade offense:
Patterson was one of eight players named to the special teams portion of the team, joining Devin Hester as the two All-Decade kick returners. Patterson had seven kickoff returns for touchdowns in the 2010s, including five in four years with the Vikings after being drafted in the first round in 2013. He added a sixth with the Patriots in 2018 and a seventh with the Bears in 2019, being named First Team All-Pro for the third time last season.
As a rookie, Patterson recorded the only 109-yard kickoff return in NFL history, tying him with Antonio Cromartie for the longest play ever. He led the league in kickoff return average in three of his four seasons with the Vikings (2013, 2014, 2016).
No Vikings were named to the All-Decade defensive team, but one has a legit gripe as a snub. Harrison Smith has been one of the best safeties in the league since being drafted in 2012, and should arguably have made the team over either Eric Berry or Eric Weddle. Berry's inclusion is particularly confusing when you look at the stats:
- Eric Berry (2010-2019): 89 games, 445 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 14 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks
- Harrison Smith (2012-2019): 114 games, 658 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 23 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles, 13.5 sacks
This continues a trend of Smith's play seeming to go unnoticed compared to some of his peers at the safety position, for whatever reason. The five-time Pro Bowler deserved to be on the All-Decade team.
The team's two coaches are Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll.
Here are all of the players who spent major portions of their career with the Vikings to make an All-Decade team:
- 2010s: Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson
- 2000s: Randy Moss, Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Williams, Darren Sharper
- 1990s: Cris Carter, Randall McDaniel, Gary Zimmerman, John Randle, Chris Doleman, Gary Anderson
- 1980s: Gary Zimmerman, Keith Millard, Joey Browner
- 1970s: Ron Yary, Carl Eller, Alan Page
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