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Adrian Peterson responds to LeSean McCoy's claim of being the best running back in the NFL

The war of play fighting words has begun.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Earlier this week, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy made an appearance on ESPN and was asked if he was best running back in the NFL. McCoy, who does not lack confidence, gave a predictable answer.

My brother always rips me all the time, trying to make me play harder. I say, 'I'm the best,' and he'll say, 'Did Adrian Peterson retire?' I look at the last three years and everything. I think AP has been the best back for so long, and he's been doing it for so long, that's why he automatically gets the best running back [title]," McCoy said.

"But the last three years? I've been All-Pro, first-team, twice. I never leave the field. I block. I catch. I never leave the field. I don't have anybody do my job; I do it myself. Tons of credit goes out to Adrian Peterson. I'm a big fan of his, for sure. But I feel I'm the best."

So of course it was only a matter of time before someone asked Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to weigh in on McCoy's comments.

"I definitely started laughing," Peterson said. "It was funny because when Stephen [A. Smith] asked him the question, you know, he kind of hesitated. If you watched it, you know he didn't believe it when he said it. So I've got to tell the youngsters, ‘Next time, say it with your chest, man. Say it like you mean it!'"

"He didn't really mean it," Peterson said. "If you watched - if you've seen his response - he didn't really mean it. ... But, you know, I've got to give the young guy credit, you know. There's nothing wrong with having confidence in yourself."

OK, so this whole thing is kind of silly. There isn't actually any real beef here. McCoy and Peterson seem to be on good terms

The only issue I see here is about the time frame being discussed. There's no question Peterson, who has posted some otherworldly numbers in his career, has been one of the best running backs in the NFL. In the NFL's "what have you done for me lately?" mentality, McCoy is the best running back right now based on his impressive 2013 performance. You can't rattle off these accomplishments and then proceed to say McCoy is wrong about his claim.

• NFL FedEx Ground Player of the Year

• Led the NFL in rushing yards (1607) and yards from scrimmage (2146). First time an Eagles player led the league in both categories since Steven Van Buren in 1947.

• Eagles franchise records broken: Single season rushing yards, Single season scrimmage yards, Single game rushing yards

• FedEx Ground Player of the Week (3x)

• NFC Offensive Player of the Week

• NFC Offensive Player of the Month (December)

• 2014 NFL Pro Bowler

• 2013 PWFA All-NFL Team

• 2013 AP NFL First Team All-Pro

Record breaking game gear sent to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Another thing to consider here is that McCoy is still 25 (he turns 26 in July) and Peterson turned 29 in March. History suggests that McCoy is about to hit his peak while Peterson is approaching steady decline.

Vikings fans, among others, will still argue Peterson is the best, and that's more than fair given the longevity of his success. But even the biggest homers have to at least admit Peterson is no longer by far the best. With that said, I don't see anything wrong with McCoy's claim to the throne.

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