Adrian Peterson says he’s “pretty fired up,” which is OK. It’s being “too wired up” that the Vikings running back is guarding against as he prepares to restart his illustrious NFL career after more than a year.
“It’s hard,” Peterson said. “But I know from the past that when I go into a game and I’m too wired up, then you kind of forget about your principles when you’re out there, of [slowing down] and letting things develop.”
Peterson, who missed the final 15 games of last season as he dealt with the fallout from child-abuse charges, will return to the field on Monday night in San Francisco. It will be the first regular-season game at new Levi’s Stadium and, of course, the return of the 2012 league MVP.
Asked if he thinks the setting is perfect for his return, Peterson said, “I do, I do, I do. … Everybody will be excited for it.”
But not too excited, Peterson hopes.
“You get out there and if it’s a run play and you’re too anxious, too excited and you hit the hole too fast, you’re beating the offensive line,” Peterson said. “If [a lineman] is pulling, you’re beating him to the gap.”
Without a preseason warm-up, Peterson has yet to run a play at full speed in a game. That’s why he’s been encouraging the offensive line to practice at full speed.
“I’m always pushing those guys,” Peterson said. “It’s, ‘Hey, we need to go full speed because this is going to be what it is in the game, especially when I’m coming your way. I don’t want to run you over or find my facemask in your back. You’re not going to like that.’ ”
Peterson was asked whether he has visualized what his first run will look like, and whether it will resemble the 78-yard touchdown run that came in Detroit on the first snap of the 2013 season.
“I have visualized that a couple times,” Peterson said. “But I’m not making any predictions.”
One thing he does vow to do is pause before the action starts: “When that first snap comes, I’ll take a deep breath and be ready to roll.”