MINNEAPOLIS -- Adrian Peterson is back in the NFL, and he's back to asserting himself as the league's best running back.
Former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber interviewed Peterson on the sideline during Minnesota's 20-12 preseason win against the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night. Leber reminded Peterson about Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles saying he was the LeBron James of the NFL. When Leber asked Peterson who he would be if Charles was the James of the NFL, Peterson didn't miss a beat.
"I'm the LeBron," Peterson said, smiling. "I can't knock Jamaal; he's a good friend of mine. But the one thing I always tell people is, 'If you don't think that you're the best, how will you ever become the best?' So I can't knock him, but I definitely have to say I'm the LeBron James.''
This isn't the first time Peterson has poked fun at another running back who dared to call himself the best.
Peterson and Chris Johnson tried to one-up each other in a series of comments from 2010 to '13. And when LeSean McCoy called himself the best in the league in 2014, Peterson said, "He didn't really mean it."
Peterson isn't scheduled to play during the preseason, meaning he'll make his return to the field Sept. 14 in San Francisco -- exactly a year after he missed the first of 15 games following his indictment on child injury charges.
The 30-year-old running back told ESPN earlier this month he's more explosive than he was last season because of the extra time he's had to work out. When he's been asked for his goals in 2015, Peterson has repeated his oft-spoken benchmark of 2,500 yards.