The offense that Adrian Peterson returns to on Monday night is the same one he spent all of the 2014 offseason learning, at least as far as the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive schemes. But last year he played just one game before his legal troubles took him out of action for the final 15 games.
The 2012 NFL MVP has had an extended absence from the NFL field, so a little excitement about his return would be understandable. While Peterson acts like he is taking it all in stride, Wallace indicated there is more bubbling below the surface.
“It’s going to be special (playing with him),” Wallace said. “He’s a guy that’s tweaking to get on the field and hasn’t played in over a year and one of the best players the game has ever seen. I’m excited, just like everybody else. He is my teammate and you’ve got to keep that in perspective. The team, we have one common goal and that’s to get better.”
Peterson, schedule to talk later this week, hasn’t talked to the local media since late August, when the Vikings were preparing to play a preseason game at Dallas in his home state of Texas. Of course, Peterson hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2011, so he was required to wait a little longer to get back into game action.
At that point, he was already beginning to anticipate the feeling of getting back on the field.
“The intensity is different,” he said. “I’m starting to juice up a little more anticipating Week 1.”
However, Peterson understands his role in the preseason. He is one of the NFL superstars and protecting his health has been a preseason priority each of the last four years.
He said there is a “lot of wear and tear on the body” going into the preseason.
“Guys are getting chopped below their knees and guys are running and colliding into each at 100 mile per hour, it’s a high level of risk for injuries,” he said before that preseason game. “If you look at the numbers, it shows that.”
But there is little doubt he makes a difference for the offense. He knows it, his coaches know it, opposing defenses know it, and his teammates know it. They could use his help in the running game after a sub-par preseason in the rushing game.
“Any time you add Adrian, it’s going to help improve the run game,” tight end Kyle Rudolph said. “It’s not anything that’s on the running backs. It’s one guy here not getting their assignment done and causing the play not to work. If that one guy gets the job done, you turn on the tape, there’s big runs left to be had.”
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Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said his offensive personnel is “exciting” to be around, but said they are young.
Peterson, at 30 years old, is not one of those young players, but Wallace knows how he would feel if he had to sit out nearly a year.
“I would feel fresh, energized, mad, happy at the same time. There would just be all type of emotions,” he said.
“I’ve never played with him; I’m excited and as a guy who you watch from afar, he’s a great player, legendary player, and you want to see him play. It’s going to be crazy playing on the team with him. It’s going to be fun, though. We got to have some celebrations we’ve got to make up – touchdowns.”