Jim Brown knows all about being the NFL rushing king. Nobody in history has held the career rushing title longer than Brown having it from 1963-84.

Emmitt Smith is the current rushing leader, having set the mark in 2002. But Brown said Vikings star Adrian Peterson one day could top it.

"If he wants that and he dedicates himself and he has good fortune, that's a great possibility,'' Brown said in a phone interview with the Pioneer Press from his Los Angeles home.

"I think if he sets his goals and he understands his circumstances and he knows what it takes, that he can be successful. I'm not saying that he will break the record, I'm just saying it's a possibility.''

It won't be easy. Smith ran for 18,355 yards in 15 years before retiring after the 2004 season at 35. Peterson, who turned 29 last month, has 10,115 yards in seven seasons.

Peterson spoke about breaking Smith's mark after gaining 2,097 yards in 2012, the second-most in NFL history. But he didn't help himself in 2013 when his total dropped to 1,266 during a season in which he missed two games and most of another due to injuries.

Brown likes Peterson a lot. That's saying something since the Hall of Fame running back never has routinely handed out compliments, having once criticized Pittsburgh star Franco Harris for running out of bounds.

"He's a great football player,'' Brown said of Peterson. "He's always been a real fine gentleman and a great worker. His running style and the effort he puts in is unbelievable. I have the greatest respect for him. ... I like his attitude as a runner. I like the fact that God gave him a body that's big enough and he's fast enough.''

Brown rushed for 12,312 yards with Cleveland from 1957-65 before retiring at 29 to become an actor. He reached 10,000 yards in 98 games, the second-fastest in NFL history, while Peterson became the third-fastest when he got there last season in his 101st game.

Brown has met Peterson on several occasions and considers him a friend. Nelson Peterson, the running back's father, said his son has chatted with Brown at awards banquets and Brown invited him to his home in the summer of 2009.