As fans, we probably all look forward to week 1 for many reasons. The season is finally here, are we as good as the preseason hype/hope, we can stop trying to learn the name of the 3rd string camp fodder. But what about the players? One would assume they look forward to the end of preseason, getting actual game checks and playing for real.
This year one of the big story lines for the Vikings will be facing Adrian Peterson in week 1. Now with the Saints, the Vikings will finally have to face the beast that is Adrian Peterson, all day. The fans will get to root against a guy that was not always the most likeable star. On the field he always gave 100%, but off the field he was a mixed bag, his comments often seemed a bit off, his actions led to a year long suspension and humility wasn’t part of his virtues. So as much as we will enjoy the memories, I would wager most Viking fans are looking forward to seeing our defense stuff, strip and subdue the legend.
But what about the actual players on defense? Are they looking forward to meeting Peterson on the game field? Most will probably avoid the bulletin board material, offer some coach speak about respect and it being a team game. But deep down, I think they probably are looking forward to testing their mettle against a guy that in his prime was the best of the best. Ego plays a big part, the players on the NFL field are not short on ego. They have earned that right, being the best of the best, and relish the chance to prove it when given the chance.
But another angle intrigues me, how often did Adrian show them up in practice. It was most likely and unwritten rule, don’t hurt the star RB. He didn’t wear a red jersey, but nobody was going to be the guy that ended AP’s season on the practice field. But Adrian didn’t really see it that way, he loved contact and didn’t mind running over a defender that was pulling up. His ego was huge and more often than not, Adrian was bringing the heat that couldn’t be brought the other way by the defender.
So, this time it is real. For the first time, most Viking defenders get to light him up. Will they take the chance to bring some heat that they bottled up for years? I certainly hope so. Bring me some Sendejo on a run blitz, lets see Linval engulf him in the backfield as he looks for an escape. Maybe Hunter’s massive guns bring him down or BRob doing what he does so well, staying home and waiting for the bounce back. Yes please.