PALESTINE, Texas – Even without Adrian Peterson, Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a strong NFL debut, with the best Total QBR, completion percentage, win percentage and highest yards per attempt of the three quarterbacks who were rookie starters last season.
Peterson hopes his return will help Bridgewater even more in his second season.
“Hopefully my presence will be able to lose a guy or two by bringing guys in that focus on stopping the run,” Peterson said on Saturday during Adrian Peterson Day in his hometown of Palestine. “With coach [Norv] Turner’s offense, there’s so much that he throws out there, so I’ll be more involved in the pass game, being out wide, presenting myself for Teddy to check down. But I think the biggest thing will be just the run threat and making the defense play more balanced.”
Peterson spent most of last season on the commissioner's exempt list after being indicted on child abuse charges. He returned to practice with his team this month for the first time since September.
Just as offensive coordinator Norv Turner saw the old Peterson, the running back felt like himself.
“I did actually; I did, I did,” Peterson said. “… My body felt great. I don’t care what you do in the offseason; it’s hard to duplicate playing football. Actually getting out there and making cuts and things like that. … I think I had maybe like a day of soreness. I’d been working so hard, so the soreness didn’t last too long. Just kind of getting back into the groove of making sudden cuts and stops and running routes and things like that. After about a day or two, I felt pretty good.”
The mental aspect has involved a learning curve for Peterson. He said his “memory muscles” started working again after a few days of meetings with coaches and spending extra time with the playbook.
“It felt good to be around the guys, see the coaches and just be around my teammates and kind of get back into the swing of things,” Peterson said. “It was kind of a stress-reliever.”