In five weeks and four days, running back Adrian Peterson will return to Minnesota as a member of the Saints. And the jury is out on how Peterson will look when he’s in the game.
The naysayers say he’s too old and too banged up to be the “he’s loose!” juggernaut he once was. The glass-half-full crowd believes Adrian will still be Adrian.
So far, the optimists may be onto something. Apart from the consistent praise of Peterson from teammates, his new coach has seen the same Peterson that the rest of us have for the last decade.
“The reps he is taking . . . have been impressive,” Payton told reporters on Thursday. “Today was a pretty physical day. We did not tackle to the ground, but there certainly is a temperament to his style. You feel it.”
There’s a chance Vikings defenders will be feeling it too on the first night of the regular season. The counter, of course, is that the Vikings coach staff knows Peterson well enough to implement and execute a plan for stopping him.
However it plays out, Peterson’s debut as a member of the Saints will be one of the most intriguing games of Week One, which is pretty good given that the game otherwise entails a pair of non-playoff teams from 2016.