Adrian Peterson’s number, explained: Why Titans RB isn’t wearing his typical No. 28 jersey



Most NFL fans recognize Adrian Peterson best in the No. 28 jersey that he wore at Oklahoma and during his best days with the Vikings.

However, Peterson has changed his number quite a bit over the years out of necessity. He will do that once again with the Titans.

Peterson isn’t going to be wearing No. 28. Instead, he’ll be wearing another new number, the fourth different one of his NFL career. He is taking advantage of the NFL’s new number rules and it will be of the single-digit variety.

Below is more information about Peterson’s newest numbers as well as all of the jerseys he has worn while playing for six different NFL teams.

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What is Adrian Peterson’s jersey number with the Titans?

Peterson will don the No. 8 jersey for Tennessee. It marks the first time during his career that he has worn a single-digit jersey.

The 36-year-old running back is taking advantage of the NFL’s new jersey number rules. Running backs were only allowed to wear Nos. 20-49 under the NFL’s previous jersey number rules. Now, they can wear any Nos. 1-49 and 80-89.

Peterson hasn’t yet explained why chose the No. 8 jersey. He has typically worn the No. 28 jersey throughout his college and pro careers, so perhaps the opportunity to keep at least half of his most iconic number led to the choice.

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Why isn’t Adrian Peterson wearing No. 28?

The answer to this is simple. The Titans already have a No. 28 on the roster: running back Jeremy McNichols. The fifth-year veteran has worn that number since joining the Titans in 2020.

The NFL doesn’t allow mid-season number changes save for special circumstances. Here’s the league’s official wording on the rule, per a 2018 Pro Football Talk article.

“For competitive reasons, no player may change his uniform number once the regular season begins. . . . Special exceptions to this rule may be considered by the NFL Football Operations department depending on the circumstances (e.g., player traded to another team).”

If Peterson sticks with the Titans in 2022, he’ll have an opportunity to change his number. However, a change at that point could come with a fee related to jersey production, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him keep the No. 8 jersey for the duration of his time in Tennessee.

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Adrian Peterson’s career jersey numbers timeline

Incredibly, the Titans will mark the sixth team that Peterson has played for during his career. Here’s a look at what jersey numbers he has worn at each of his stops.

Vikings (2007-2016): 28

Peterson spent the majority of his career with the Vikings. He wore the No. 28 jersey, the same as his college number, for the entirety of his time there. In 10 years with the Vikings, he racked up 11,747 rushing yards and 97 rushing touchdowns. He also had a 2,097-yard season, good for the second-most rushing yards recorded in a single season in NFL history.

Saints (2017): 28

Peterson kept the No. 28 jersey for his brief stint with the Saints. He played just four games there before being traded, as he fell behind in the backfield rotation consisting of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.

Cardinals (2017): 23

After his time with the Saints ended, Peterson joined the Cardinals. He changed his number to 23 at this stop, as special teams ace Justin Bethel was already wearing the No. 28 jersey. Peterson had considered wearing the No. 23 jersey in Minnesota back in 2012, but he changed his mind when he learned he’d have to pay Nike a $1 million fee to do that.

Washington Football Team (2018-2020): 26

It took Peterson quite a while to find work after his six-game stint with the Cardinals came to an end. Eventually, Washington signed him on eve of the 2018 season with the team dealing with a banged-up running back room. While the No. 28 jersey was technically available, it has basically been unofficially retired in Washington to honor Darrell Green. Peterson chose to wear 26, which had previously belonged to Clinton Portis, as his newest number.

Lions (2020): 28

Peterson went back to his traditional number when he joined the Lions. He ran for 604 yards and seven touchdowns while playing for his second NFC North team.

Titans (2021): 8

Now, we’ll get to see what Peterson is able to do as he dons a single-digit jersey for the first time.


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