Adrian Peterson is at the point in his career where he has been around the block and back.
At 31 years of age, the league's reigning rushing champ enters his 10th year preparing for the wear and tear of an NFL season.
The Vikings running back admitted that at this time of year he usually says that he believes his team has what it takes to win the Super Bowl.
He said it again when he addressed the media following the second day of the Vikings minicamp at Winter Park Wednesday.
But this time it felt different.
"I always say it," Peterson said. "But this year we are just more — I don't know what to call it. I just really can see it. We have a long way to go, but we really have the pieces to accomplish that. There's nothing wrong with saying it. If any other guy on this team don't feel that way, then we need to be trading him and bringing somebody in that feels that way as well."
Peterson's role model
There are a number of running backs, around the NFL and even around the world that have declared Peterson as their role model.
The Vikings sixth-round draft pick Moritz Böhringer admired the Vikings running back all the way from his home country of Germany.
Peterson was asked Wednesday who he admired as he ascended as one of the league's top young rushers.
"LaDainian Tomlinson was always a guy that I looked up to," Peterson said. "Not only because he's from east Texas and that area, but just the way that he played. Just overall a complete back, and he did it consistently for a long extended period of time."
Tomlinson ranks fifth on the NFL's all-time rushing yards list (13,684 yards) and played 11 years. Peterson ranks 17th all-time with 11,675.
Always room for improvement
Even a former NFL MVP enters offseason workouts with areas where he is trying to progress.
Peterson said he's trying to improve this craft heading into 2016, continuing to gain comfort out of the shotgun formation and increase threat in the pass game.
"If anything, it's just staying locked in on our (shotgun formation) runs and what they are asking of us," Peterson said. "It's just being more patient and really understanding what they are asking from us on each play. You know who's pulling, what to expect and just that detail of it.
"I've been focusing on being more effective in the pass game. I've been catching the ball for a long time you know. But you can always expect to become better and smoother. I see myself getting to where I want to be."
"Adrian Peterson Day"
This weekend will mark the 10th annual "Adrian Peterson Day" in his hometown of Palestine, Texas.
A.D. will return home following the final day of minicamp Thursday.
This year the event will honor Peterson for much more than representing the city in the NFL. Peterson committed to more than $100,000 of his own money to **The Salvation Army’s relief efforts*** *following the flash floods and severe storms that took place in his hometown in May.
"It will definitely be a little more emotional," Peterson said. "But just being involved and just seeing how the community has stayed resilient, it will be good to see the people and the progress that we've made. Not only that, but to be able to present a good time to them and kind of get away and relax and enjoy a great weekend."
Following the first day of minicamp Tuesday, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater spoke about how he has had control of the offensive huddle when he has addressed his group so far this offseason.
Peterson agreed with his 23-year-old quarterback Wednesday.
"For this third year we are expecting big things from him," Peterson said. "I don't think it's pressure toward him, but he understands it now even more going into this next year. He's the leader of this team when it comes to the offensive side of the ball. He just knows that and takes control.
"I don't know if you guys have noticed this but he's getting a little more muscle to him, so that's always good, which is going to make him a stronger quarterback. That's one thing I love about him. He has that mentality to get better."
Training camp ready
Peterson and his teammates will report to training camp on July 28 for the Vikings 51st training camp in Mankato.
"I think I'll be a little more excited (this year), but I'm never excited to go to training camp," Peterson laughed. "It's always when I drive into Mankato the reality is there and it's time to start. I am excited as to what we have and the vision we have for this season."
With just over five weeks between the end of Vikings minicamp and the start of training camp, Peterson discussed what his plans were during his time away from his team.
"Just go back home and put my foot on the petal," Peterson said. "I have about five weeks before training camp so that's when you really put in the bulk of the work and just grind through to put the finishing touches on what I've been doing since February. Same thing, different year."