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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Is Adrian Peterson beginning to catch on in New Orleans?

By Judd Zulgad

The last time Adrian Peterson carried the ball in a preseason game was 2011. That’s expected to change as the running back and his New Orleans Saints teammates prepare to face the Vikings on Sept. 11 in the regular-season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Peterson, who signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Saints in April after being released by the Vikings, could get a few carries on Saturday against Houston. That will be New Orleans’ third exhibition, which usually serves as the final tuneup for players of importance.

“I’ve been thinking about it,” Peterson told ESPN. “I’ve been practicing as if (I will play), and my mindset has been to play. So whether I play or not, I don’t know yet. But my mindset is to play. …”

Saints coach Sean Payton did not say whether he will have Peterson on the field, but ESPN reported Payton suggested he plans to play all of the veterans who have been held out of the first two exhibitions. That list includes Peterson, quarterback Drew Brees, running back Mark Ingram and defensive end Cameron Jordan.

Peterson was the face of the Vikings and the star of their offense, so the fact he was treated with kid gloves came as no surprise. But Peterson figures to get little special treatment with the Saints and, if Brees is going to play Saturday, there would be no reason to hold out Peterson.

Peterson already has taken part in joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers and Texans.

It will be interesting to see what type of role Peterson ends up with in New Orleans. Ingram led the Saints last season by rushing for 1,043 yards on 205 carries with six touchdowns and the team also drafted running back Alvin Kamara from Tennessee in the third round in April.

While Peterson was rarely a big part of the passing attack with the Vikings, the veteran could see his role in that area expanded in New Orleans. On Thursday, he caught a pass from Brees on a wheel route and went for a touchdown.

“It felt good,” Peterson said. “When coaches watch that, they’re gonna say, ‘OK, we see what he’s able to do when he’s out there.’ So that opens up more opportunities. That was one of the things I was really excited about coming to join this offense.

“You know, knowing the type of quarterback Drew is, if you’re open, he’s gonna throw it to you. So there’s no more running routes just to get the man to run down field and turn his back. It’s running the route to win. So when I’m out there, I’m just trying to take advantage of those opportunities. And Drew threw a great ball, and I was able to come down with it.”

Peterson’s first NFL touchdown came in the opening game of his rookie season in 2007 when he caught a pass on a wheel route from Tarvaris Jackson and went 60 yards for a score against the Atlanta Falcons at the Metrodome. Peterson did not catch another touchdown pass until the 2010 season and had five receiving TDs in 10 years with Minnesota.

He had a career-high 43 receptions for 436 yards in 2009 with Brett Favre at quarterback for the Vikings.

But Peterson never looked entirely comfortable in the passing game while wearing purple. Will that change in New Orleans with Brees as his QB? The Vikings will soon find out.

The post Is Adrian Peterson beginning to catch on in New Orleans? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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