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Vikings' Peterson sees more value in RB position

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson runs with the ball at practice June 17 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings said he wants to be the man to reverse the trend of the running back position being devalued throughout the NFL.

Peterson told Dan Pompei of Sports on Earth that he wants to “beat down the things they are saying about the running back position.”

A running back hasn’t been taken in the first round of the NFL draft for the past two seasons. Peterson believes that reflects more on the talent in the draft.

“We haven’t had a good back, a must-have guy, come out of college in a couple years,” he said. “That’s what’s missing. You get a guy who comes out who is like Marshawn Lynch (of the Seattle Seahawks) ... you’ll definitely want to bring that guy in.”

Peterson ran for 2,097 yards during the 2012 season following ACL surgery. In 2013, he ran for 1,266 yards.

Peterson said he has a goal to break Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record of 18,355 yards. To do that, the 29-year-old Peterson will need to stay healthy well into his 30s. Peterson has rushed for 10,115 yards in seven seasons.

Peterson said staying healthy is his main focus.

“Taking care of your body. Making sure your body is battle proof and able to withstand the punishment a running back goes though,” Peterson said in the interview. “It’s doing the small things — ice tub, cold tub, massages, making sure you help your body rejuvenate.”

Peterson also said he knows he must avoid unnecessary hits on the field in trying to pick up an extra yard.

“There comes a point in time when you know the extra yard really doesn’t matter if you already have the first down, and you know you aren’t going to get it,” he said. “Or I’m sprinting to the sideline and two guys are chasing me with an angle. I know I’m not going to get the corner on them.

“Earlier in my career, I would have dug in and have that contact for two extra yards, but now it depends on the situation. If I’m trying to get the first down, I’m dipping my shoulder and going for it. First down accomplished, I can step out.”