The Detroit Lions signed future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson to be an early-down bruiser for a team that’s lacked consistency at the position for years.
Ahead of Week 1, coach Matt Patricia was mum on how much work the man known as All Day might get out of the gate.
“You know, we’ll see,” Patricia said yesterday, via the Detroit News. “It’s Monday and he just got here so we’ll see how everything goes.”
Patricia noted Peterson’s familiarity with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell from their days in Minnesota from 2007-2010.
“I think it was a great part of just a kind of a perfect storm, a combination of things to get them here,” Patricia said. “I think that being familiar with Bev’s offense and obviously being very productive in that offense — I think he had a game with 291, 261 yards. (Peterson rushed for 296 yards against the Chargers as a rookie in 2007.)
“Ridiculous, right?” Patricia continued. “That’s always a good draw, when you have that sort of production in a particular offensive scheme. And certainly I think being familiar with the type of offense that we run, for him to be able to come in without a training camp and step right in and hopefully try to contribute is a big factor that gave us a little bit of an advantage.”
Given that Peterson was in Bevell’s offense a decade ago, the hope is that the OC would have evolved in the past 10 years, so it’s likely not the same offense AD played in Minnesota. Regardless, the connection is one reason to believe Peterson can get on the field right away.
The Lions signing Peterson before Week 1 indicates that they believe he’ll have a sizable role in the offense. Veterans on the Week 1 roster have their salaries guaranteed for the year. Players inked after Week 1 don’t have that same luxury.
Peterson should make up a three-headed backfield with Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift, both second-round picks in recent years. The rookie, Swift, has been dealing with an injury that could curtail the start of the season.
Swift’s injury, coupled with Johnson coming off another injury that ended last season prematurely, portends to Peterson earning a role to start the season, particularly on first and second downs.
The 35-year-old back doesn’t have the same juice as he did back in his Minnesota days, but he still can tote the rock and run through arm tackles. As Ron Rivera said when the Washington Football Team cut Peterson last week, AD still has good football left in his legs.
Despite his long resume, Patricia played coy with Peterson’s expectations in the Motor City.
“Nothing more than what we expect (from) everybody,” Patricia said. “You know, go out there and compete, work hard and try to do everything he can do contribute to the team and help the team win, whenever that’s ready to take place.”
The Lions are a dark horse to make noise in the NFC if Matthew Stafford stays healthy. Having a grinder like Peterson could pay dividends, assuming he fits the offense and the Lions don’t change plans to revolve around to cater to the running back.
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