Peterson hasn’t played in a Vikings preseason game since 2013 and hasn’t touched the ball in one since 2011. The 31-year-old running back indicated that the decision to sit out the exhibition portion of the Vikings schedule was made “collectively.”
“It was something I really thought about [doing] but ultimately just decided against it,” said Peterson, via the Star Tribune.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer indicated last week he didn’t need to see the running back in preseason action to know what he’s got in Peterson.
“Ultimately, [Zimmer] wasn’t going to force me to go out there and play,” Peterson said. “I’ve been doing it for a long time. He trusts me.”
One reason the Vikings may have liked to see Peterson in a series or two is the team intends to operate more often out of shotgun formations this season. Teddy Bridgewater prefers it and performs markedly better in the passing game out of the shotgun than when he’s under center.
Peterson disputed the notion he won’t be able to adjust to running out of the shotgun formation more frequently despite statistics showing he fares far better in the running game when lining up behind the quarterback as opposed to next to him. Peterson feels progress is being made, though.
“It’s been going well,” he said. “Just being more patient. That’s always been the main thing. I’ve been able, I feel, to conquer that so I’m real comfortable.”
Peterson says studying his playbook and keeping his conditioning up should counteract any ill-effects of not playing in the preseason. Peterson made sure to note that he didn’t play in the preseason in 2012, when he came up agonizingly short of the all-time, single-season NFL rushing record with 2,097 yards, earning himself an MVP award in the process.
The fact that his monster 2012 season came one year after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee should mean there’s little reason to doubt he can’t defy expectations once again this upcoming season, preseason play or not.