METAIRIE, La. — It has been four years since Adrian Peterson last appeared in a preseason game. And he hasn’t touched the football in a preseason game since 2011.
But the New Orleans Saints running back said Saturday that his switch to a new team and a new offense might just inspire him to buck that trend.
Asked if he finds himself more eager than usual to play in preseason, Peterson said, “In a sense, I do. Maybe I’m itching a little more this offseason.”
It’s hard, though, to miss the qualifiers Peterson threw in there — “maybe” and “in a sense.”
And it should be noted that the 32-year-old veteran used the same word — “itching” — last May when he was with the Minnesota Vikings, saying he was “itching towards playing a little more in the preseason” before he ultimately decided against it.
But things might be different now, since Peterson has switched teams for the first time in his 11-year career. He already has changed his routine from years past by joining the Saints for their entire offseason workout program, OTAs and minicamp in the spring.
The future Hall of Famer has acknowledged that he’s still absorbing his new playbook. “When it comes to the physical part of it, I don’t think that’s gonna be an issue. It’s more mentally fully understanding the offense,” said Peterson, who missed 13 games with a torn meniscus in his knee last year. “Because Drew Brees, he’s a general back there and he talks so fast when he calls plays. So that’s more so what I mean, just locking that in. And that’s the norm, coming into a new system.
“So I’m just taking advantage of really looking in that playbook and making sure I’ll be prepared when my number’s called.”
Sean Payton hasn’t announced the Saints’ participation plans for next week’s preseason opener at the Cleveland Browns. But it’s a safe bet the head coach will want to see Peterson on the field at least once this summer, as he’s still evaluating what he has in one of his newest offensive toys.