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Updated: May 19th, 2014 11:01pm
Eagles' LeSean McCoy says he's a better running back than Adrian Peterson

Eagles' LeSean McCoy says he's a better running back than Adrian Peterson

by Judd Zulgad
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A few years ago Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson made it clear he felt he was the NFL's best running back and that the Vikings' Adrian Peterson was second on the list.

Now, it's LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles saying he's a better running back than Peterson. McCoy, who led the NFL in rushing last season with a career-high 1,607 yards, made his comments Monday during a visit on ESPN's "First Take."

"My brother always rips me all the time, trying to make me play harder," McCoy said. "I say, 'I'm the best,' and he'll say, 'Did Adrian Peterson retire?' I look at the last three years and everything. 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]."

"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."

McCoy, 25, is right about one thing. His use in the passing game and his ability to stay on the field to provide pass protection gives him an edge on the 29-year-old Peterson. McCoy has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three of his five NFL seasons and has reception totals of 40, 78, 48, 54 and 52. That gives him a career total of 272 catches, including 10 for touchdowns.

McCoy has rushed for 5,473 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, and 39 touchdowns in his career.

Peterson has played two more seasons than McCoy, rushing for 10,115 yards, an average of 5.0 yards per carry, and 86 touchdowns. He has 206 receptions but only five for touchdowns. He led the NFL in rushing as recently as 2012, when he ran for 2,097 yards.

That was the second-best total in league history, behind the 2,105 yards the Rams' Eric Dickerson rushed for in 1984, and made Peterson only the seventh player ever to go for more than 2,000 yards.

Now, if you use the past three seasons, and just go by pure rushing totals, than Peterson remains the better back. In that time, he has rushed for 4,333 yards on 835 carries, 5.2 yards per rush, and has 34 touchdowns in 42 games. McCoy has rushed for 3,756 yards on 787 carries, 4.8 yards per rush, and has 28 touchdowns in 43 games.

In the passing game, McCoy is far better. He has 154 receptions for 1,227 yards, 8 yards per catch, and eight touchdowns. Peterson has 87 catches for 527 yards, 6.1 yards per reception, and three touchdowns.

As far as fumbles go over the past three years, Peterson has lost five of 10 and McCoy has lost five of the six footballs he has coughed up.

While Peterson has never been one to get in a war of words with fellow players, he clearly was not pleased when asked about Johnson's comments in 2010. It will be interesting to see how Peterson reacts to McCoy now calling himself the best.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 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
In this story: Adrian Peterson