Less than a week ago, Adrian Peterson was waiting for a phone call. It came, and then came his chance to suit up and play.
Fifty-six yards on 11 carries later, Peterson’s new coach liked what he witnessed.
“I saw a big guy running pretty hard really,” Jay Gruden told reporters. “He had a five-yard average I believe, had a couple good bounces, and, you know, the thing I like about some of his runs is they look like they’re like gains of ones [yard] and he’d fall forward for a gain of three. The first run of the day I thought it was a three-yard gain and he ends up second and three. . . . I was impressed with Adrian and the way he ran.”
He has one more chance to run before the real games begin. Gruden hasn’t decided whether to give Peterson any reps in the preseason finale.
“We’ll see,” Gruden said. “I’m going to check out the tape and see how he’s feeling body wise and we’ll go from there. I think Samaje [Perine] should be OK by Thursday. We’ll get some good looks at them and we’ve got some other guys to look at. We’ve still got a lot of work to do as far as Thursday’s concerned; we’re looking at players.”
For his own part, Peterson was feeling OK after Friday night’s appearance.
“My body feels good right now,” Peterson told reporters. “I will see how it feels in the morning. But I feel like it responded well. It felt good, didn’t get tired, so cardio is where it needs to be and right now I’m looking at it as knocking a little rust off.”
The fans didn’t need much time to embrace the future Hall of Famer.
“I definitely felt the love. I heard a little chant of ‘AP’ on that fourth-and-one, and I was like, ‘I got to get this first down,'” Peterson said.
And he did, turning that fourth-and-one into a 15-yard gain. It wasn’t quite to the level of John Riggins in Super Bowl XVII, but it may have been enough to earn Peterson, whose veteran-minimum contract has no guaranteed money, a chance to convert fourth-and-short in regular-season games.