Redskins fans aren’t the only ones anxious to see Adrian Peterson make his debut on Friday — his coach is, too.
Everyone wants to see how much juice the 33-year-old has left.
“I’m anxious, I’m anxious,” Gruden said. “Obviously, everything has checked out so far. He’s been great as far as personality is concerned. Has looked in great shape, strong, physical. We’ll see. I think it’ll translate positively.”
Peterson joined the roster after injuries piled up in the running back room, with rookie Derrius Guice (torn anterior cruciate ligament), Samaje Perine (ankle) and Byron Marshall (ankle) all sidelined. The only running backs to participate in the two practices before he arrived were Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson. Peterson took part in full practices on Tuesday and Wednesday and in Thursday’s walk-through in advance of the Denver Broncos’ visit Friday. The entire league is curious to see what kind of player Peterson can be after rushing for a combined 601 yards the past two seasons. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry on 156 combined attempts with Arizona and New Orleans last year.
A dearth of healthy running backs precipitated the signing, but Peterson has every intention of being the starter when the season opens against the Cardinals on Sept. 9.
“I’m excited about it,” Peterson said. “It’ll be a great opportunity to get back out there, to be a part of a great organization. A good offensive team, good defensive team. I’m looking forward to what the season holds.
“[I’ll take] whatever they allow me to get [Friday]. I wasn’t able to participate in OTAs or training camp anywhere, so all work for me going forward is good work.”
In addition to Peterson, fellow Oklahoma Sooner Trent Williams should get some snaps, too, after Gruden said the left tackle will play.
The coach ruled out Thompson (leg), Maurice Harris (concussion), Cam Sims (thigh) and Brian Quick (thigh). Perine and Jordan Reed are also out. Jamison Crowder (groin) will be a game-time decision.
Gruden declined to reveal how he’ll handle the starters, who traditionally see the most action in the third preseason game.
“I don’t have a feel yet,” Gruden said. “I just want to see what the day’s like tomorrow, how I feel after pregame warm-ups. What’s going on in the game, what kind of energy I feel and how they come out. That’s going be determined by how they come out and how they play.
“I just want to see [the team] come out and play with some good energy . . . and be smart. I’d like to not have any pre-snap penalties. That’s a big thing. Come out with some energy and play in front of our home crowd for however long that is.”
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