Adrian Peterson and the Vikings worked through high heat and humidity Sunday during their first walk-through and practice of 2015 Verizon Vikings Training Camp.
In addition to 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 reps and individual drills where fans can see the offense and defense challenge each other for one common goal, there are all kinds of different moments where they have access to see the personalities of players.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today took note of how Peterson obliged a request from a fan to sign a jersey "for a friend of a friend."
Peterson couldn't help himself, Pelissero wrote. He stopped, grabbed the marker and signed Sunday morning before a Minnesota Vikings staffer reminded him the team's opening walk-through of training camp wasn't over and urged him to follow teammates to the adjacent practice field.
This is the Adrian Peterson those inside the Vikings organization have known for nearly a decade: an uncommonly accessible superstar, the type of person — let alone player — worth standing behind through the self-inflicted tumult of 2014.
Peterson told Pelissero his passion for the game and giving back remain strong.
"I don't really feel like this one situation defines my history, what I've done," Peterson told USA TODAY Sports after the walk-through. "I feel like the people that really know me — they know not only what I've done on the field, but they know what I've done off the field.
"One situation I don't think negates everything that I've stood for and I've done for this community, not only in Minnesota, but in Texas and Oklahoma. That's my passion, is giving back. It's not to play football. My main purpose is to be able to change lives."
Peter King of The Monday Morning Quarterback and Sports Illustrated honed in on a moment when Peterson put a teammate ahead of him after receiving a water bottle during a break in the action.
Before taking a drink himself, he held up the bottle to undrafted Boise State rookie fullback Blake Renaud. Renaud nodded, and Peterson squirted water in Renaud's mouth for two or three seconds. Then Peterson took some water himself. Just a bit of common football courtesy his teammates have gotten used to. "A great teammate," quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said of Peterson. "I can tell you, the whole locker room's glad to have him back."
Pretty good player too. It is silly to judge anything of a veteran football player in an unpadded July practice … except athleticism. And in the first training-camp practice of his thirties (he turned 30 on March 21), Peterson made one move that showed the Vikings the athleticism they were missing at the position for the final 15 games of last season. Running a seam route out of the backfield on linebacker Brian Peters, Peterson feigned left-right-left in a millisecond and left Peters covering air. Backup quarterback Mike Kafka tossed an in-stride 30-yard touchdown to Peterson. Easy as pie. Followed by a smile. We've seen both — the juking move leaving a defender behind, and the smile — before.
"I don't see the end," a relaxed Peterson said Sunday. "Straight up and honest with you, I feel like, and I don't know if I'll do this, because I feel like once my mind tells me, You know what — I'm not loving this game anymore, I'll walk away whenever that time is. But I honestly feel I can play this game until I am 36 or 37 years old. And at a high level."
Click here for King's full report and be on the lookout for more of King's reporting from Mankato at mmqb.si.com.
Vikings Going Virtual
The Vikings had an extra set of eyes in the huddle Sunday, with technology from STRIVR beginning to collect information for a virtual reality teaching tool* *the team has begun implementing.
View images from the Sunday, July 26 practice at Verizon Vikings Training Camp.
Tim Yotter of Viking Update caught up with veteran quarterback Shaun Hill to ask more about how it can help the Vikings.
Yotter noted the technology will enable each of the Vikings four quarterbacks to "relive" every snap of practice.
"It will be great because I'll be able to take (Teddy Bridgewater's) reps and I'll be able to go in and I'll be able to take (Mike Kafka's) reps. I'll be able to take all those reps, whereas when you're standing behind (the play), you're watching and you're trying to do it as good as you can mentally, but it's not like being out there and seeing what they see. Also, you can get coached off of it, too: 'Look at this look. You've got to be looking over there.' They can see what we're looking at," Hill said.
Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune on the Vikings first steps of a long journey.
Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press on the rookies' first day* *of practices.