Updated: May 21st, 2014 6:19pm
Adrian Peterson shrugs off LeSean McCoy's 'I'm the best' RB comments

Adrian Peterson shrugs off LeSean McCoy's 'I'm the best' RB comments

by Derek Wetmore and Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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5/20/2014
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Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs that ever lived. And yet, in the what-have-you-done-lately NFL, LeSean McCoy said recently he thinks he's the better back. Whether he is or not is open for discussion. 

Nearly all professional athletes are supremely confident individuals and McCoy is entitled to his own opinion. Peterson, though, laughed off the comparison.

Jay Mohr of Fox Sports Radio asked Peterson what he thought of the declaration. 

"I definitely started laughing," Peterson told Mohr in a radio interview. "It was funny because when Stephen [A. Smith] asked him the question, he kind of hesitated, and he didn't believe it when he said it. I tell the youngsters, 'Say it with your chest, like you mean it!"

McCoy made his comments Monday on ESPN's First Take, while promoting the Madden 15 cover vote.

"I think AP has been the best back for so long, and he's been doing it for so long, that's why he automatically gets the best running back [title]," McCoy said. "But the last three years? I've been All-Pro, first-team, twice. I never leave the field. I block. I catch. I never leave the field. I don't have anybody do my job; I do it myself. Tons of credit goes out to Adrian Peterson. I'm a big fan of his, for sure. But I feel I'm the best."

None of his claims are factually inaccurate, but there's some subjectivity involved. How much has Peterson been hampered, for example, by his surrounding environment?

Any running back who dealt with Christian Ponder as a starter multiple times surely gets a little exra credit. Let's not forget in 2012, when M.V.Peterson's remarkable recovery from offseason ACL/MCL surgery didn't stop him from singularly propelling the Vikings to 10-6 and a playoff appearance.

It's intriguing to wonder how new offensive coordinator Norv Turner plans to incorporate Peterson. Will he catch more passes? Will he stay in the game on third down more often than he has historically? Can he pick up blitzes? Did OC Bill Musgrave limit Peterson's impact?

All are questions that may be answered this season. The latter might never be answered. 

"He didn't really mean it. If you watched his response (he didn't mean it)," Peterson said of McCoy, although Peterson has said he isn't a trash talker on the field, and hasn't often engaged in verbal sparring through the media in his career. "I've got to give the young guy credit because there is nothing wrong having confidence in yourself. But, you've got to speak it with more truth. He's a heck of a running back and I like his style, so I won't get on him too much."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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