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Peterson has another challenger in the best in the game talker

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Adrian Peterson won't have to look far for motivation this season.

First, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy fueled the "Who is the best running back in the NFL" debate when he told ESPN that he's better than Peterson.

Peterson, who in 2012 became the first running back since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 to be named the NFL's MVP, laughed at McCoy's claim and said the speedster from the NFC East didn't really mean what he said.

Another challenger has entered Peterson's ring, sort of.

The debate popped up when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson appeared on NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2013. Johnson came in at No. 64 on the list, and during a live interview he was asked where his teammate, running back Jamaal Charles, should be on the list.

"You have to put Jamaal at the top - top five at least," Johnson said in an interview with NFL Network. "He's a guy that's a premier running back that's probably one of the fastest guys in the league. He's a track guy. He's aggressive enough to run over you or run past you. Jamaal Charles is our best player on our team and hopefully we can ride him all the way this coming year."

But would Johnson rank Charles ahead of Peterson and McCoy?

"You know what. I would," Johnson said. "I would put him over just because he can do more than them in the passing game, too."

Based on NFL.com's StatsLab, Peterson didn't finish as the leader between the three in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, carries, rushing yards per game, runs of 20-plus yards, receptions, receiving yards or receiving touchdowns.

In fairness, Peterson played in 14 games compared to 15 for Charles and 16 for McCoy. In addition, Peterson missed the final two games of the season with an ankle injury, but even prior to that he was slowed by a hamstring injury he suffered in September, according to Pro Football Talk.

The debate will surely rage on, but for the record, Peterson's MVP season in 2012 statistically obliterated McCoy and Charles. 2,096 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 131 rushing yards per game and a mind-boggling 27 runs of 20-plus yards will do that to most challengers.

Here's the StatsLab info from 2013. Enjoy.

ADRIAN PETERSON

LESEAN MCCOY

JAMAAL CHARLES

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