Adrian Peterson came within a hair of breaking the single-season rushing record, but the Vikings running back is anything but a spoiled superstar.
In fact, Peterson said he wishes the team would assign him the duty usually given to young players and those on the margins of the NFL — special teams.
“For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get in on field goal block. Come in off the edge, you know? It’s just going to take one block for them to really be like, ‘OK, you know what? Let’s take the chance and let you go out there and get it done,’ ” Peterson told ESPN. “Kickoff return, I wouldn’t mind getting back there. I’m in it to win.”
Peterson’s desire to play special teams came up when the team’s special teams coordinator Mike Priefer let it slip that Peterson had been begging to get on the field with the kicking units.
“He always asks,” Priefer said. “He’s a football player. Gunner, field goal block, returner. The guy is awesome. I always say yes, and then I ask the head coach and he says no. I know what the answer is going to be. I don’t even have to ask.”
Adrian Peterson has seen the field on special teams before, returning kicks in his rookie season in 2007 and a few times in 2008. But now that he is the major point in the team’s offense, he is likely too valuable to risk injury on special teams.
But it’s not entirely out of the question, Priefer said.
“We would show him exactly where the return is supposed to hit and let him do his magic. There’s absolutely an opportunity for him to go back there, I would think, in a crucial situation,” he said.
Adrian Peterson has shown a selfless streak before. As the season wound down and he approached the rushing record, he told USA Today that any personal record would be hollow if the Vikings didn’t make the playoffs.