Luckily for me, I was at the Vikings game today to see Adrian Peterson eclipse 10,000 rushing yards on his career. With a shift to a dual back type of a league, and with a growing focus on the QB position, its likely that he might be one of the final guys to truly dominate in a way that he has. Players like Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco as QBs will always have more value than the solid running backs on their team, but Peterson bucks that trend. I have talked on numerous occasions that the hobby is moving in the same direction, as running backs rarely hold value outside their rookie year.
Peterson could be the last of his kind, rumbling his way to the hall of fame as the penultimate hard nosed back that carries the ball 20+ times per game. Oddly enough, similar backs with similar success like LaDanian Tomlinson have not measured up. Currently, his autographs are the top valued at the position:
There will always be rookies that come through the ranks to have great rookie value, but I would be shocked to see them maintain the same position within the hobby elite the way Peterson has. Of course generational talents will come and go, but this league is not about developing more Petersons – they are looking to build more Andrew Lucks and Aaron Rodgers type players. Running backs never get 100 million dollar contracts, and with new rule changes and diamond level finds in late round picks, they probably wont in the foreseeable future.
Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick established themselves as a new breed of QB last year, almost taking the place of their team’s running game. However, both have struggled to reclaim that glory for a second year in a row, especially now that NFL coordinators have had an offseason to plan. Its becoming a precedent that a good running back can have some expensive rookie cards in their first year, but they dont function the way Griffin and Kaepernick can function, holding value in a down season. One bad year and value is destroyed, as many teams rarely want to wait out a back whose wheels arent flying every chance they get the ball.
A perfect example is Chris Johnson, who like Peterson, managed to put a 2000 yard rushing season on his resume a few years ago. Since that time Johnson has meddled in obscurity, never coming close to the season he had prior. Collectors were never a huge fan of Johnson due to a terrible signature, but his cards were valuable at one point. When he was unable to match output, his hobby value dropped to lower than it was prior to his 2K season.
Other backs like Maurice Jones-Drew and Jamaal Charles have put up consistent numbers during their tenure, but they play for teams that have yet to really showcase any ability to win on a regular basis. Although the Vikings havent really been a model of winning either, their popularity and divisional rivalries continue to make them a popular team across the country.
Taking everything into consideration, it worries me that there is only one position of value in the NFL. If a player isnt a quarterback, their potential for achieving hobby elite status is minimal, if not microscopic. Not only is this a terrible outlook for anyone looking to get into collecting, but it might actually contribute to more people leaving. Even though this is a big Vikings homer style article, my point rings true. Enjoy Adrian Peterson while you can, because he isnt going to be around forever.