Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson has lofty goals, but none is loftier than Emmitt Smith's NFL career rushing record. The reigning league MVP said he pass Smith during the 2017 season, and even has a date in mind, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Peterson, 28, rushed for 2,097 yards last season, eight yards fewer than Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105. His goal for this season is to reach 2,500 yards.
As for Smith's mark of 18,355 yards, Peterson told the paper that he can get there by Week 16 of the 2017 season, well ahead of his current pace of Week 4 of 2019.
Peterson currently has 8,849 yards. By his estimate, he would need to average 120.3 yards per game over a 79-game span to collect the 9,507 yards needed.
"Whoo. That's pushing it, huh? But hey, pushing it is the only way to do it. You know it," he told the Star-Tribune.
---The quietest New Orleans Saints' offseason in years remained that way through the early stages of training camp, thanks to fourth-year tight end Jimmy Graham.
With 215 receptions and 25 touchdowns in his first three seasons, Graham has clearly out-performed the rookie contract he signed in 2010 and will likely become the highest-paid tight end either this fall or next spring.
But while some players in his situation would have at least been tempted to hold out and skip training camp to get a contract extension to ensure his long-term financial security, Graham reported on time last week.
Despite watching fellow tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez from the same draft class get huge deals that average around $8 million per season, Graham is scheduled to earn $1.323 million in base salary this season after making $540,000 a year ago.
If a new contract and financial security is on his mind, the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Graham isn't showing it. Through the first few days of camp, he politely took every question about his contract status in stride.
"Whenever that happens, it's going to happen," Graham said of a new contract. "I'm not too concerned about it. I know if I do what I do on the field and I keep being productive and help this team win, I'm going to be taken care of."
And it's clear he doesn't want it to become a distraction.
"I'm just here to play football," he said. "I don't really worry about all of that stuff. It will take care of itself."
The Saints have to appreciate that kind of talk, but they fully realize they're going to have to sign Graham to a long-term deal, perhaps soon, or franchise him next March.
At the outset of camp, general manager Mickey Loomis said it's a possibility the deal could get done before free agency begins. At the same time, he noted he hasn't seen any sign of frustration from Graham about not having a new deal.
Meanwhile, Graham will just go about his job every day.
"To each his own," he said of not holding out. "I'm the type of player that it's just about football. I just want to play. It's as simple as that."
---While New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick continues to dance around how he'll employ Tim Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner appears to be settling in at quarterback, according to a Boston Globe report.
"Ninety-nine percent of Tebow's activity during his time with the Patriots has been spent learning to play quarterback in the team's system," writes the Globe's Ben Volin. "He has only spent time in the quarterback meeting room, he wears a red non-contact jersey on the field and he runs the third-team offense during team drills."
Tebow does log minutes during each practice catching passes with the skill-position players, though offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told the paper Monday that Tebow does that because, as a scrambling quarterback, he'll have chances to carry the ball.
"He's just practicing his open-field running," McDaniels said. "Matt Cassel and (Doug) Flutie and some of those other guys I've had a chance to coach, I think we did the same types of things with them. And again we know Tim has a skill set that some of these other guys don't possess in terms of his ability to run with it, scramble with it when he has it in his hands."
For his part, Belichick barely shed any light on the subject.
"I think that we'll use Tim wherever we feel like he's best for the team, and I know that's what he's committed to doing as well," Belichick told reporters last week. "Whatever that is."
---Trey Dolezal, the attorney for former NFL quarterback Vince Young, said a Houston judge could rule to uphold a restraining order filed to prevent further assessment of Young's assets.
"Judge Matthews has the ball," Dolezal told The Sports Xchange by phone Tuesday, referring to Harris County District Court Judge Sylvia Matthews in Houston. "There has been no order for an auction or collection of assets."
Dolezal is familiar with Matthews, who is also handling the complaint against Young's former financial advisor, Ron Peoples. Young filed a civil complaint claiming he lost more than $5 million while Peoples Financial Service was managing his assets along with former agent Major Adams when Young signed a five-year, $54 million rookie contract.
Constables were sent to his Houston estate to assess his assets, but Dolezal denied that action is precursor to auction.
He also said Young is not at or near bankruptcy, nor is he being forced to liquidate assets to meet the $1.7 million judgment that exists due to what Dolezal insists was a "conspiracy" high-risk loan hatched by New York-based Pro Player Funding in 2011. The short-term loan was for $1.695 million with a 20 percent interest rate adjustable to 30 percent if any payments were missed.
He said Tuesday that Young was taken into a room to sign three documents for a financial matter, not knowing he'd agreed to a loan that, Dolezal said, wasn't created on paper for another three weeks after the date Young signed.
Dolezal said Young has no intention to repay any part of the loan.
"We're still in controversy; there is no judgment," he said. "You don't get to collect -- in statuatory and case law -- while in controversy."
Pro Player said it obtained a judgment in July 2012.
The binding document in the conflict is a signature page known as an affidavit of collection of judgment. In New York, the document eliminates the legalities of the collections process. The single page entered into court can essentially be the starting blocks and finish line for collectors.
Young's legal team countered with a petition to vacate, and Pro Player followed with a "motion to compel" or hold Young to the documents he claims he was duped into signing.
The domestication judgment in Texas might not be the last word in the matter.
Dolezal said the case against Pro Player would be in appellate court if Matthews decides to side with "the loan sharks."
"She could rule against Vince -- to view this is final until a judge in New York says it isn't," Dolezal said. "We immediately appeal in that scenario."
Given media interest and Young's profile, a decision could come this week.
The injured foot of Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams seems to be a growing concern.
He sat out Sunday's practice because of that injury, and on Monday, he left training camp to have the foot examined.
"He's going to be evaluated by our doctors, so he's off campus being evaluated," head coach Doug Marrone said, according to The Buffalo News. "I have not heard any report yet.
"His foot was sore. We're not going to make any mistakes about it. We're going to make sure that everything's fine. Our doctors are evaluating him. Where he is or where he goes, I'm not going to talk about that."
Williams is entering the second year of his $96 million contract. He had 10.5 sacks for the Bills last season.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had said he planned to move Williams all over the field to make it more difficult for opposing offenses to key on him.