Last season doesn't change that, but the Vikings superstar's absence in 2014 cost him during NFL Network's latest edition of The Top 100 Players of 2015.
Players 70 through 61 were revealed on Wednesday night, with Peterson landing at No. 62, a fierce 58-spot tumble from his No. 4 ranking one year ago. It's a predictable fall from one angle: After playing the season opener, Peterson spent the rest of the year in absentia while serving a suspension stemming from his no-contest plea on what the league called "an incident of abusive discipline" toward his 4-year-old son.
Off-the-field issues aside, Peterson falling behind seven other running backs is another reminder that the Top 100 hinges off a voting process anchored heavily on confusing guidelines and groupthink. Remember: This isn't simply a list based on what happened last season. When Peyton Manning missed the entire 2011 campaign, his peers voted him at No. 50 on The Top 100 Players of 2012.
Peterson's rankings since the series began in 2011 -- 3, 8, 1 and 4 -- came directly from his peers. Those same players, many who can't tackle him, suddenly view him as a lesser force?
It doesn't add up.
Other takeaways from the 70-61 reveal:
» It took seven seasons for Forsett (No. 65) to make his first Top 100 appearance. His 1,200-yard breakout campaign for the Ravens was no fluke, but he turns 30 in October and will be challenged to make this list a second time. Forsett was one of five players from 70 through 61 who made the list for the first time, along with Jeremy Maclin, Jerry Hughes, Tashaun Gipson and Bobby Wagner.
» Pro Football Focus judged 38-year-old Charles Woodson as the 68th best safety in the league last season. NFL players believe he's the 64th best player in all of football. Waitress, bring me another.
» I'd argue that Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy should be higher than No. 66. Same goes for Wagner, the outstanding Seahawks 'backer who made his first-ever appearance on the list at No. 69. Wedged in between them at No. 67 is Gipson, who galvanized Cleveland's defense as an opportunistic ball hawk before going down with a knee injury. I'd take all three players above Woodson.
» Hughes was left off last year's list after notching 10 sacks in 2013. After another 10-sack effort last season, the Bills defensive terror finally caught the eye of our pristine body of voters, who labeled Hughes as the 63rd best player in the NFL.