Peterson has an itch and it's unlikely that his head coach, Brad Childress, will allow it to be scratched for too long. The itch is Peterson's desire to play extended minutes in the preseason opener.
"I'm itching, just ask Coach Childress. He can answer that question better than I can. I hate not playing in the preseason. I love games and going out there and competing against different guys or whatnot," Peterson said Tuesday. "I understand that there's different guys that they're looking at. They want different guys to get reps out there so they can evaluate guys. I understand that process and it is what it is."
Preseason games have been classified as "meaningless" by some fans, but they serve their purpose as a warmup for the regular season for the starters and a chance to impress and earn a roster spot for the backups. For Peterson, the first preseason game on the Friday night horizon marks a quick end to a shortened (two-week) training camp.
"You start off, you come into training camp and it's, 'Oh Lord, it's training camp.' Friday we go up and visit the Colts. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's excited," said Peterson, who admitted that he doesn't know how much he'll play.
Peterson said he has taken "a giant step forward" in his ability to pass protect, run routes and catch the ball out of the backfield, but much of the third-down action this year is still expected to go to Chester Taylor, who was ultra-productive in that role last year.
But Peterson has been working on his overall game against one of the best defenses in the NFL, so he figures that's a good trial run before the first preseason game as well.
"When we come out here and we go live, we're going live and that's against our defense," he said. "There's not too many defenses out there that are going to bring it like ours.
The Vikings' annual rookie talent show is set for Wednesday night, the team's final day in Mankato. It's an event in which the rookies each have to display a talent to the rest of the players and coaches.
"We've been putting stuff together to get ready to put on a talent show. We watched a couple of them from last year so I have to try and top what they did last year. It will be fun," said first-round draft pick Percy Harvin, who was happy to find out that rookies aren't hazed. "I know a lot of teams do it. Just being in college, when a lot of guys would come back, they would have their eyebrows shaved or something crazy. When I got here that was one of the first things I was nervous about, but when I found out they don't do it, it kind of relieved me a little bit."
Players aren't usually willing to give a public preview of what they might have planned for the talent show, but Harvin said if the act isn't good, the veterans might end up throwing oranges at the poor performer.
Apparently Darius Reynaud had no such fruit lobbed his way last year. Reynaud did impressions of several coaches and players and received rave reviews, even from those being parodied.
"They were classic, yeah just classic," Childress said of Reynaud's impressions. "Probably not all for public consumption, but at the end of a training camp it's all open game – coaches, players, veterans and rookies. And believe me, there is always a unique approach.
"I am sure I will be parodied in some way. I look forward to it. It is good to be worked on by professionals."
SIZE MAY NOT MATTER
Peterson was asked about running behind a big right tackle like rookie Phil Loadholt. The former Oklahoma Sooners tackle is listed at 6-foot-8, 343 pounds. But just because he's big doesn't automatically make him effective.
"He goes out and he's a big body, so he opens things up. But on the flip side, too, I've seen guys just as big as him who get put on their butt. So it is what it is right now. Like I say, he's doing a good job so as long as he keeps it up I think he'll be all right."