MANKATO, Minn. –Football is back, and so is Adrian Peterson.
Peterson arrived Thursday for training camp prior to his 10th season in Minnesota and reflected back over his career. Of all the weeks and practices and he's spent in Mankato over the years, the Pro Bowl running back said the 2007 camp remains one of his most memorable.
"I didn't really know what to expect," Peterson said. "But I got so much love from the guys – [former teammates] Antoine Winfield, big Pat Williams, Kevin Williams. Those were some great memories."
Peterson said expectations for himself are just as high this year as they were during move-in day as a rookie.
"Just being great," Peterson said. "Trying to accomplish that ultimate goal of winning a championship keeps me motivated.
"There are a lot of things that keep me motivated to come out here and go through training camp and get ready for an amazing season," he added.
View images of the Vikings arrival to training camp in Mankato for check-in day.
Michael Griffin is also refreshed and motivated to take on the 2016 season. While he's certainly no stranger to prepping for an NFL season, the 10-year safety said his first Vikings training camp is quite the transition.
Griffin soaked in some time signing autographs for the hundreds of fans gathered outside the dormitory during player check-in. It's the first time the former Titan has experienced a training camp away from a team facility, and Griffin said he's excited to see how everything goes.
"I had to make a couple of stops on the way here," said Griffin, who got lost on his way to Mankato. "I was trying to figure out everything that I need to bring to be in dorms that I haven't been in since I was 18.
"With all of us being in the dormitory, there will be more team bonding," the 31-year-old Griffin added. "More chemistry, being able to live underneath the same roof and get to know each other better."
On the other end of the spectrum is wide receiver Adam Thielen, who knows the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus like the back of his hand. A native of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Thielen visited Mankato a handful of times for Vikings training camp growing up before playing college ball for the Mavericks. Now, he's starting his third training camp as a member of the Vikings.
"[Training camp] signifies the start of the season - it's exciting just to get back and get back at it," Thielen said. "The games are getting closer, and that's always good."
Whether players are veterans or have yet to play their first NFL game, they all have high expectations both for the team and as individuals.
Laquon Treadwell, whom the Vikings drafted 23rd overall, said he's excited for his first camp and will utilize all the knowledge he gained from former Vikings receiver Cris Carter, who still holds franchise records in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
"He told me that records are meant to be broken," Treadwell said. "He's one of the greatest ever to put on a Vikings uniform, he's in the Hall of Fame, so to have him in my corner – that means a lot."
Griffin is also excited for the chance to contribute to the Vikings, a team he said is on the rise. Though he has yet to play a game under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who **signed a contract extension** with Minnesota Thursday, Griffin said he believes in the team Zimmer has set up and knows the expectations are high.
"Looking from the outside in, looking at how the Minnesota Vikings made it to the playoffs last year, they have a young quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater getting better each and every year and Adrian Peterson doesn't age at all," Griffin said. "You know, even coming in, I didn't know much about [Stefon] Diggs. He's a great receiver; Diggs is going to be something special.
"And the defense – what's not to like about this defense?" Griffin added. "The Vikings have a young defense that's going to be something to reckon with for years to come."