Matt Vensel: ‘Foolish To Write Peterson Off’

With Vikings training camp underway, it seems that all has been forgiven with Adrian Peterson. It seems that fans are eager to see Peterson in the backfield with Teddy Bridgewater and have forgotten all the drama and off-field turmoil from last season.

Fair?

“Yeah, that’s a fair assessment,” Minneapolis Star Tribune Vikings writer Matt Vensel said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Things have really gotten back to normal. It was good of them to get this done. Adrian ultimately decided to come back in the spring. I think maybe three months ago, I thought we were for sure looking at possibly a training-camp holdout, but he realized he wasn’t going to get what he wanted (anywhere else). He needed to come back here, and they were able to kind of patch up this marriage. Getting a new contract to kind of cements things that this relationship is at least on good footing for at least another year or two here. The fans – at least the ones who are crazy enough to come out to training camp to watch a walk-through – they go nuts for him every time he gets a handoff. So I’m sure there are some fans who might not root for him or might not root for the Vikings, but it really felt normal in camp. It seems like such a relief. We’ve kind of gotten back to normal.”

Vensel said Peterson has been his usual self with the media. Maybe a little more reserved, but overall, he’s the same old Adrian.

“He’s been candid since he came back,” Vensel said. “I think his first press conference back probably couldn’t have gone any better, and I think he’s been honest about the fact that he said it’s not back to normal for him. So he’s kind of shown a little bit of vulnerability and a little bit of self-awareness too. But for the most part, he’s been normal in his dealings with us. His teammates have embraced him. He looks like himself out on the field. There’s legitimate questions about his age, injury history and the rust. But right now he looks like he’s ready to go.”

Peterson, 30, played in just one game last season, rushing 21 times for 75 yards in a 34-6 win over the Rams in St. Louis. His goal this year is to rush for 2,500 yards, which would obliterate Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record (2,105 yards).

“Well, the media, we hear it every year,” Vensel said with amused fondness. “(It’s) the same deal. He always expects to get more catches, he always expects to rush for 2,500 yards – he sets these lofty goals and that’s what he does. When he says that, we kind of just shrug and go ‘Okay, well, this is the headline (for) another year.’ But you look back three years ago when he came off the ACL tear, he has defied expectations at least as an athlete. So he’s certainly motivated. I think we’d probably be foolish to write him off. I don’t know if he’s going to get 2,500 yards, but there’s no reason to think that if he’s able to stay healthy for all 16 games that he can’t approach 1,500.”

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