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Cardinals' O-line less worried about 'fangirling' over Peterson, more focused on task at hand

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Cardinals add Peterson to improve run game (0:40)

The Arizona Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson with hopes of rejuvenating their offense, which is averaging an NFL-worst 2.6 yards per rush. (0:40)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- D.J. Humphries has already envisioned it: Adrian Peterson following Humphries' block, breaking away and heading downfield.

It’s been on repeat in the offensive tackle's mind since Arizona traded for the former MVP.

Humphries has visualized for years. It’s something he learned as a young player. If he can see it, he can do it. He’s thought about blocking for certain runners for years. He’s pictured himself blocking into the second level, taking out safeties, as Peterson, with a full head of steam, aggressively runs behind.

Now Humphries gets to actually block for the future Hall of Famer.

But with Peterson’s arrival through a trade Tuesday comes higher expectations for the Cardinals’ offensive line -- already under intense scrutiny for Arizona’s struggling run game -- along with a little leeway and a lot of pressure.

“I don’t think many guys that are in our room now thought they’d be blocking for a future Hall of Famer and a guy like that,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “I think it’s exciting for them. I think it puts a little bit more pressure on them just to come through. I think he’s the type of guy where if it’s not going well and they’re not blocking, he’s going to say something.

“I look forward to that.”

Arizona’s linemen know what’s coming with Peterson.

“It’s a different level of what’s expected,” Humphries said. “It’s like, 'Hey, if you give it to me, I can make it happen.' It’s not like we’re chasing ghosts. It’s just something like, oh, we give him an opportunity to do something and hit it. It’s like, if it’s there, he’s going to hit it -- make sure it’s there.

“That’s the only way you can think about it.”

Peterson’s physical style has Arizona’s line excited.

Center A.Q. Shipley said that, as a lineman, he wants to block for a guy who’ll run downhill.

“He’s going to be as physical as you are and look for contact, as opposed to run away from it,” Shipley said.

Added Humphries: “He runs like he’s angry at people, and that’s important. If I’m an offensive lineman, that’s what I want. I want a dude back there that’s mad for nothing, just angry all the time.”

For most of the Cardinals’ offensive line, Peterson is the best running back they’ve ever blocked for.

Left guard Alex Boone is the lone exception. He played with Peterson in Minnesota last season, blocking for him in all three of Peterson’s appearances as he dealt with a knee injury for most of the season.

Boone summed up what it’s like to block for Peterson: “It’s awesome. He’s a future Hall of Famer. Super-pumped. Can’t wait to see him out there. Super-excited.”

That seems to be the common refrain among the O-line.

“I think it’s awesome,” right guard Earl Watford said. “Glad he’s here. I treat it no different than anyone else running the ball. Whoever’s back there running it, we’ll block it. I don’t really think about it. I’m sure people think we’re more fangirling over him than playing, but we’re focused on just getting things going again, running the ball well.”

Blocking for a high-caliber running back isn’t entirely new to the Cards’ line.

They helped David Johnson run for 1,239 yards last season and make the All-Pro team. To Humphries, Johnson “is the new AP.” But having that experience of blocking for a quick, speedy, powerful back who can run through or around someone will help with Peterson.

“David did some impressive s--- last year and the year before that,” Humphries said. “It’s kind of a similar level of thinking. I know I can sell out right now and he’s going to make me right. I can do whatever I need to do to the best of my capabilities and he’s going to make us right. That’s how I feel about it. When I’m back there now, I know I got to block this m-----f-----. I’m going to block the s--- out of him because that dude back there is going to see something. If he don’t see nothing else, he’s going to see a hole and he’s going to see that grass and he’s going to hit it fast. That’s exciting. That’s exciting for an offensive lineman.”

Linemen like to block for a back like Peterson, center A.Q. Shipley said. But, as Boone relayed to Goodwin, if a lineman isn’t blocking the right guy, Peterson will either run up the lineman’s back or run right over him.

And then he’ll speak up.

“If it's not up to the standard that he wants or we want, other than me bitching all the time, let it be him to put more pressure on them to do better, to give him better opportunities and better running lanes to get down the field,” Goodwin said.

If it’s coming from Peterson, Goodwin said it’ll be more effective.

“They hear it from me every day,” Goodwin said. “But when you got a guy who’s in front of you or running behind you, who’s done it in this league for a long time and has had success and who’s a future Hall of Famer, and he says you’re not good enough right now, I need more -- I think it speaks volumes.”