EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Adrian Peterson told Voice of the Vikings Paul Allen he's "stronger, faster, a smarter player, more calm and relaxed" on Tuesday when asked what is different about his game at this stage of an accomplished career.
"I just have a totally different mindset going into this season for sure, but, you know, just matured a lot in all areas," Peterson said in an interview that was posted to Vikings.com this morning. The audio will open Allen's *9 to Noon *show on KFAN Wednesday.
Peterson is preparing for his ninth pro season. He has 10,190 career rushing yards, a 2012 NFL MVP title, six Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections but said he missed his teammates the most in 2014 when he sat out all but one game.
"I kind of felt like I let those guys down. … That was the toughest part, sitting at home and watching those guys kind of struggle," Peterson said.
The franchise leader in rushing rejoined Vikings at Winter Park two weeks ago and has made it clear he believes the Vikings can build off a 7-9 mark in 2014 and accomplish great things. Reasons for that notion include potential he saw from Teddy Bridgewater from afar last season, his belief in Vikings coaches and the offseason addition of receiver Mike Wallace.
"AP" told "PA" that Bridgewater is "a little more primed" this year.
"He got a year under his belt where he really wasn't, you know, they were stacking the box and bringing a lot of pressure, so I think this year, it's going to be a lot easier for him to go out and do what he does," Peterson said. "He's still a sharp young man. He's eager and hungry to learn more and improve his game, and with that mentality and talent he has, the sky is the limit for him."
A widespread smile beamed through Bridgewater's facemask the first time he turned and handed the ball to Peterson, and the two have been developing their timing and exchanges. They're also working together in the passing game, where the Vikings have lined up Peterson at multiple spots on the field and had him run routes or as a check-down option.
Peterson told Allen he's been impressed by Bridgewater's ability to survey all of his options on a play and make good decisions with the football.
"The biggest thing and what stands out the most to me is his ability to see the field," Peterson said. "He's not a guy that just locks in on one side. He's able to read his reads and get back to the backside if needed or check the ball down, and you normally don't see that with a first-year quarterback."
The Vikings are scheduled to have two more days of minicamp this week before breaking until July 25 when they report for the 50th training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato to resume working on the team's goals.
"I feel like we have great potential, we have great talent and I feel like the sky is the limit for us," Peterson said. "It's really about us as a team putting in the effort and putting in the time to get there, but we have what it takes to make it into the playoffs and give ourselves a chance."