When the Vikings gave Adrian Peterson the guaranteed money he was looking for early this week, it marked the official end of his battle with the organization.
Now the six-time Pro Bowler can get back to butting heads with other teams.
Peterson hasn’t put the pads on since last September, when his 2014 season ended after one game because of his child abuse charge in Texas and subsequent NFL suspension. And since we last saw him in a game, he turned 30 — an unwelcome age for running backs.
Only 46 times in NFL history has a 30-something rushed for 1,000 yards, according to Pro Football Reference. Over the past decade, it has happened 13 times.
But Peterson is confident he will be the exception to the rule. After all, the last time he faced on-field adversity, he topped 2,000 rushing yards and carried the Vikings to the 2012 playoffs after shredding his knee the previous season.
“I feel like I’m blessed. I feel like just my mind-set that I have, my work ethic, as well,” Peterson said last month. “That’s a big part of it, having a good work ethic.”
Peterson showed up at Winter Park in his typically exceptional shape, still looking like something out of a comic book. And he said it only took a couple of practices to work the rust off after a nine-month hiatus. So he’s ready to roll, even if he’s unlikely to play during preseason games.
“Whatever they call on me to do, I’ll be ready to do it,” Peterson said.
The Vikings plan to call on him a lot, of course. They didn’t bring him back after these tumultuous 10 months and give him a new deal so he could wave pompoms on the sideline.
Coach Mike Zimmer indicated that Peterson will eat up most of the carries again this season, with Jerick McKinnon and others fighting for the scraps.
And if Peterson didn’t lose a step during his layoff and if his body holds up, he should join the list of 30-year-olds who topped 1,000 rushing yards — by the end of November.