NORMAN — Adrian Peterson’s handshake keeps orthopedists in business. Peterson squeezes your hand like he wants you to pull him back on the cliff. Squeezes the way he runs through NFL defenses; with ferocious purpose. Peterson’s grip on a fulfilling pro football career is not quite so strong. With the slippage of LaDainian Tomlinson, Peterson wears a new mantle: world’s best tailback. But Peterson’s status does not guarantee Super Bowl reservations. If the Minnesota Vikings don’t quit fooling around at quarterback, and that includes courting the ancient Brett Favre, Peterson might never see the Super Bowl. If the Vikes don’t show some smarts, Peterson will wake up one day, be 30 years old and will have traveled the Barry Sanders Parkway. All those yards, all those memories, and not a February to show for it. Two years into his pro career, Peterson already has played for four starting quarterbacks: Tarvaris Jackson (17 games), Gus Frerotte (11), Kelly Holcomb (three) and Brooks Bollinger (one). Favre almost surely will become No. 5. "We’re just trying to sit back, figure out what’s going on,” Peterson said Friday at his youth camp on the OU intramural fields. "He’s a great quarterback. Been in the league 18 years. We’ll see how the chips fall.” Peterson played it cool. Neither endorsed Favre nor condemned the usurping of Jackson, his teammate. "I’m not worried about that,” Peterson said of team morale. "I’m sure mentally he (Jackson) understands it’s business. The head coach has a job to do. Whatever players you put in there that has the best chance to win, that’s what you’re going to do.” That player is not Favre, of course, no matter how much football fans wish and hope. Forty-year-old quarterbacks will break your heart every time. They will get hurt. They will get avalanched by pass rushes they once avoided. They will throw the ball a hair off the intended target, which gets you beat in the Sunday league. Favre is more than an NFL legend. He’s the most popular professional athlete of the last quarter century, this side of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. Favre’s passion and flare and toughness resonate with every football fan. But don’t be fooled into believing popularity and passion, flare and toughness, can beat Father Time. Truth is, Favre’s numbers the last four years are no better than the numbers put up by Sage Rosenfels and Jackson, the quarterbacks already on the Viking roster. Don’t believe it? Favre has thrown 88 touchdowns and 84 interceptions since August 2005. Jackson’s ratio is 20:18; Rosenfels’ is 21:22. Favre’s quarterback ratings the last four years: 70.9, 72.7, 95.7 and 81.0. Rosefels’ ratings the last two years, in which he’s been a part-time starter: 84.8, 79.5. Jackson’s ratings his three years in the NFL, during which he’s made 19 starts: 62.5, 70.8, 95.4. Favre is descending quickly, which is what 40-year-old quarterbacks do, and Jackson, particularly, is improving, which is what 26-year-old quarterbacks do. Minnesota’s Favre infatuation is understandable. Take a Super Bowl shortcut, in a sport where gradual building isn’t the only blueprint. But Favre is not that shortcut. A 40-year-old quarterback with one good season in his last four, with a bad shoulder and a bum bicep, is a shortcut only to disappointment. The most likely Viking scenario for this season is another 9-7, 10-6 finish and an early playoff exit, and if Favre still is the starter, the Vikings will head into the off-season with a quarterback who will be 41. This has Detroit written all over it. In Sanders’ 10 years with the Lions, he had 10 starting quarterbacks. Scott Mitchell started 57 games, Rodney Peete 47, Erik Kramer 15, Charlie Batch 12, Bob Gagliano 11, Dave Krieg seven, Andre Ware six, Dan Majkowski two, Frank Reich two and Eric Hipple one. Krieg was the Lions’ Favre, brought in at age 36. Some remember Sanders’ career as being void of the playoffs. Not so. The Lions reached the playoffs in half of Sanders’ 10 seasons. But Detroit won only once, in the 1991 NFC semifinals. Sanders’ playoff record was 1-5. Peterson could be headed for the same fate if the Vikings don’t start shopping for a quarterback solution somewhere besides the antique store. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.