vikingspackersThere is a difference between a football player expressing confidence in an “any given Sunday” kind of way vs. a way in which he truly believes in his — and his team’s — greatness.

I don’t know Adrian Peterson much beyond interacting with him in press conference settings. And I certainly wasn’t there when he spoke recently with SI’s Peter King — ostensibly, first, about tragic flooding in his native Texas and what he’s doing to help, but then about football.

But this sounds like something a man who really likes his team would say — and it’s the final quote King uses in the piece:

We are going to have a good chance to win it this year—win everything,” Peterson said. “Sit back and watch. Sit back and watch. You can be like, ‘I thought you guys were at least a couple of years away.’ Nope. You sit back and watch, this year.”

Again, what player in May isn’t going to say he believes his team can win the Super Bowl? But still: It’s pretty strong, phrased in a way that one would phrase something if he felt something deep down instead of just on the surface. Talk guarantees nothing, and yet it’s interesting.

Peterson seems defiantly confident in one other particular area: that he is going to reverse the trend of running backs going downhill after they turn 30. Hey, he won a rushing title at 30 a year ago. And to King, he said: “I am getting stronger with age.”

As much as 2016 figures to begin an earnest transition from this being Peterson’s team to this being Teddy Bridgewater’s team, it’s hard to deny the link between his two confident statements. If the Vikings are going to contend, Peterson will almost certainly need to run like a typical 25-year-old, not a 31-year-old.

Can they just open the stadium and start the season so we can all find out? Who’s ready?

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