Analysis

NFL Summer Games, running back: Adrian Peterson still on top

American football isn't an Olympic sport -- yet. But with the world's best athletes set to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, we thought we'd get in on the fun by holding a medal competition at nine key positions. NFL Media analysts ranked the top three players at each spot, with points assigned accordingly -- three points for each first-place ranking, two for each second-place ranking and one for each third-place ranking. The points were totaled, resulting in final gold-, silver- and bronze-medal finishers. Below, you'll find the results -- and each analyst's individual ballot -- at running back.

The Running Back Podium

GOLD MEDAL:Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (56 total points)

SILVER MEDAL:Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (35)

BRONZE MEDAL:Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (26)

Analyst Ballots

Gil Brandt: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Todd Gurley 3) Le'Veon Bell

If the NFL gave medals for every big play and game, Peterson would have a drawer-full -- possibly more than even Michael Phelps. Gurley will not be far behind by the time his career is over. Bell is, without question, the most complete back in the NFL (when healthy).

Willie McGinest: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

AP is simply the best. We've seen him put the Vikings on his back for years. Bell is a dual threat with the way he runs the ball and his ability to catch out of the backfield. He has great patience and vision. Gurley is a big back with track speed, allowing him to break a ton of tackles.

Gregg Rosenthal: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

Bell briefly stole the "best running back alive" crown from Peterson because of his insane feet and receiving skills, but his injury knocks him down a peg. Gurley's vision, power and speed could have him in the top spot before long.

Charley Casserly: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Todd Gurley 3) Doug Martin

Peterson can be even better this year with an improved O-line. Gurley will be the best back in football very shortly. There is a big gap to the third RB, Martin.

Nate Burleson: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

Peterson competes with so much heart and is the closest reminder to what running backs used to play like several decades ago. Bell is a perfect blend of power and speed, but he must stay healthy. Gurley is simply the future.

Elliot Harrison: 1) Le'Veon Bell 2) Adrian Peterson 3) Todd Gurley

Gurley will lead the league in rushing, but look for Peterson's production to carry more weight in quality and team success. Meanwhile, in terms of overall productivity, no one can stop Bell, who could put up 2,300 yards from scrimmage.

Michael Robinson: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

Peterson has been the best running back for a while now, and until someone takes the rushing title from him, he stays at No. 1. If Bell stays healthy, he's capable of becoming the league's best. Gurley showed us just how dangerous he can be. The second-year man's just getting started.

Marcas Grant: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Todd Gurley 3) David Johnson

Gurley is coming for Peterson's spot atop the podium, but he's not there just yet. Johnson might not have a long track record, but he has the skills (and the offense) to be among the vanguard of talented young running backs.

Shaun O'Hara: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) LeSean McCoy 3) Le'Veon Bell

Nobody runs harder, longer and angrier than Peterson -- and I don't think he gets enough credit for his vision. McCoy is one of the toughest running backs to bring down and makes professional athletes look silly. Bell is the most patient running back and might have some of the best acceleration.

Bucky Brooks: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

Like a fine wine, Peterson gets better with age. The 31-year-old runner just led the NFL in rushing yards and remains an unstoppable force in the backfield.

Gurley will be the most productive running back in football this year. He is already the most athletic and -- currently 20 months removed from a torn ACL -- will be the strongest after his first full offseason.

Solomon Wilcots: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Todd Gurley 3) Le'Veon Bell

We know AP is destined for greatness, as he has carried his team and is the one running back defenses don't want to tackle. Nipping at his heels is Gurley, who is a young Peterson capable of gaining 1,000-plus yards each season. Bell is probably the best all-around back in the league.

Dave Dameshek: 1) Le'Veon Bell 2) Adrian Peterson 3) Shady McCoy

Big year for do-it-all Bell, who -- fair or not -- needs a healthy season to get a big contract. AD is great, except that he's now fumbled away the two biggest games of his career ('09 NFC title, '15 wild card), whereas Bell hasn't fumbled since his rookie year.

Ike Taylor: 1) Le'Veon Bell 2) Adrian Peterson 3) Matt Forte

AP has proven time and time again that he's the best back in the league, but I have Bell taking the gold because of his versatility. Forte and Bell are comparable in their production on the ground and in the pass game, providing great value to their respective offensive units.

Adam Schein: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Todd Gurley 3) Le'Veon Bell

Peterson is still the best in the business. Gurley is a young stud. And with Big Ben and the Pittsburgh passing attack, sometimes the genius of Bell flies under the radar.

Alex Gelhar: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

Yes, Peterson is aging -- but he's a freak of nature and an all-time great back. Bell might push Peterson for top honors if he could just stay healthy. It only took a few games in 2015 to see Gurley was one of the game's best backs.

Brian Baldinger: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) Todd Gurley

Since Peterson's first start in Week 2 of the 2007 season, he's been the best back in football. Bell and Gurley are beasts IF they can stay healthy.

Kevin Patra: 1) Le'Veon Bell 2) Todd Gurley 3) Adrian Peterson

If healthy, Bell remains the most dangerous threat out of the backfield.

Eric Davis: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Jamaal Charles 3) Le'Veon Bell

There's a reason people call Peterson "All Day." Charles boasts a career average of over 5 yards per carry. If he stops playing today, I think he's a Hall of Famer. Bell is on his way to being extremely special -- if he can stay healthy.

Jamie Dukes: 1) Adrian Peterson 2) Le'Veon Bell 3) LeSean McCoy

Peterson's nickname, "All Day," does all the talking, but Bell and McCoy are right behind him.

Adam Rank: 1) Todd Gurley 2) Adrian Peterson 3) Le'Veon Bell

So yeah, I'm putting Gurley first because this is based on 2016. If this was based on past performances, I would probably have Adrian Peterson first. But it's not like Michael Phelps is going to win a gold medal in Rio because of his past numbers -- it's going to be about what he's doing this year. So Gurley is a pretty easy call.

Here's the one thing that always stood out to me about Gurley. In a league where few running backs are drafted in the first round, the Rams drafted him 10th overall in 2015. But it wasn't just that he was drafted in the first-round -- dude was drafted while he was rehabbing from a devastating knee injury. Think of how far Myles Jack fell in the draft because of his knee injury. The Rams drafted this guy high, in a position where nobody puts a lot of value behind these days. That should tell you a lot.

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