Less than 24 hours after signing Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden expressed hope that the veteran running back would be available for Friday’s preseason game versus the Denver Broncos.
“Oh yeah, I’d like to get him a few touches,” Gruden told reporters after Peterson went through his practice with the Redskins on Tuesday. “Looks explosive. Big, strong and fast.”
Peterson has not played since late November when a neck injury ended his season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Part of the reason for Gruden’s optimism for Peterson being ready to play on Friday was based on the way he impressed the coaching staff during Monday’s workout.
“Really signed him because of the workout. Not just early in the workout but late in the workout,” said Gruden, per the NFL Network. “He wasn’t even breathing heavy. He’s in fantastic physical shape.”
Washington needed help at running back after a series of injuries at that position. Rookie Derrius Guice suffered a season-ending torn ACL, and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall each sustained ankle injuries that sidelined them.
Peterson played in 10 games for the New Orleans Saints and Cardinals last year before injuring his neck. He rushed for 81 yards in four games, including one start, for the Saints before being acquired by the Cardinals. He added 448 yards in six games, all as a starter, for Arizona.
The 33-year-old Peterson rushed for a league-leading 1,485 yards for the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, when he was named All-Pro for a fourth time. However, he was limited to three games and 72 rushing yards in 2016 and was released by the Vikings in March 2017.
Peterson was named the league MVP in 2012, when he rushed for 2,097 yards. His 12,276 career rushing yards rank second among active players, behind only Frank Gore, and rank 12th all time.