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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Why I ruined Adrian Peterson's life

By Bill Williamson

Brad Childress has company. I too am now despised in the Land of the 10,000 Lakes.

It seems I've attached myself to the hot seat in the second installment of ESPN.com’s position-by-position Power Rankings. My ranking of Kansas City Chiefs tailback Jamaal Charles at the No. 2 spot on my top 10 vote rocked the outcome of the rankings.

Who knew?

I was just giving a kid his due credit. I didn’t realize I was alienating an entire state. Really, purple is my favorite color.

However, because I put Charles at No. 2 and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson at No. 3, it gave Tennessee’s Chris Johnson the No. 1 ranking.

You’re welcome, Tennessee.

This was not a sinister act to give Johnson the nod, although I did enjoy the fruit basket, Chris. Seriously, we have no idea what the outcome of these votes will be until all eight voters make their selections. It turns out I was the only person not to vote Johnson and Peterson in the top two. There’s the smoking gun.

Johnson finished first with 76 voting points, Peterson was second with 75 points and Charles was fifth with 44 points. This was my explanation to AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, who compiled our story on this week’s Power Rankings:
I squeezed Charles in between Johnson and Peterson because I think Charles may be rising some and Peterson may be falling just a tad. We all know running backs have short shelf lives, so any little indication of slippage could be significant. I know Johnson slipped some in 2010, but this is still a highly productive player who has plenty left in the tank. I think Johnson gives defensive coordinators more Tuesday night headaches than any tailback in the league right now. I get to see Charles quite a bit and he is simply explosive. He truly can score any time he touches the ball.

Believe me, this wasn’t some AFC West favor. I truly believe Charles is a special player and he is deserving of his ranking. I also think Peterson is tremendous and he is still a special player. I voted him No. 3 not No. 8. I can’t apologize for giving a player a top-3 ranking.

In other, less-controversial AFC West power ranking developments, Oakland’s Darren McFadden was tied for 10th with Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and San Francisco’s Frank Gore. I had McFadden ranked No. 8, McCoy No. 10 and I left Gore unranked.

I can understand why McFadden was only on four lists. While he was quiet in his first two NFL seasons, he showed he was for real in his third. He became a strong inside and outside runner. He is also a weapon as a receiver. McFadden is finally the complete back everyone thought he'd be when he was drafted. He belongs on this list.

Kansas City’s Thomas Jones finished 13th.

Next week, we’ll rank the top pass-rushers. I wonder whose life I’ll ruin next?

Fill the comment section below on how you would vote the NFL’s top running backs.