Exclusive first image of 'Madden NFL 25'

Presenting the first screenshot of "Madden NFL 25. It looks like it'll be a year for running backs. Courtesy of EA Sports

Two weeks ago, ESPN The Magazine debuted the first image of “Madden NFL 25,” showcasing Adrian Peterson’s wicked stiff-arm in a print-only screen.

ESPN Playbook is here to follow up that picture with the exclusive first online image of “Madden 25,” featuring Arian Foster, and we’re scanning the image for clues.

Looks like Year 2 of the Infinity physics engine will focus on running backs, including a bigger emphasis on cutting, and of course, smacking defenders in the mouth with fierce stiff-arms as you try to knock defenders like Von Miller out of your path. When asked for clarification, all an EA Sports representative would tell us is that the game will highlight a “run free ball carrier feature” that will offer “unprecedented ball-carrier control and precision.”

As long as that also includes running backs who no longer flail their legs like dying animals once they hit the ground, I’m down.

And with Arian Foster continuing to surprise in the Madden Cover Vote, this image could also be a precursor of what’s to come when the “Madden 25” box is unveiled April 24.

Can Foster really pull off the upset to win the cover as a 4-seed? Hit up ESPN’s SportsNation tomorrow to find out if the back can advance to the Elite Eight by knocking off the No. 1 seed, Colin Kaepernick.