Despite rough 2017 season, Adrian Peterson 'hasn't slowed down,' says Redskins' Trent Williams
The 33-year-old Peterson is reportedly visiting Washington on Monday
The Redskins thought they solved their running back situation this offseason when they drafted Derrius Guice in the second round. But Guice tore his ACL in Week 1 of the preseason, and the backfield suddenly looked a lot like the one that ranked 28th in rushing a season ago.
And while Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine all have the potential to improve on their 2017 effort, the Redskins will also host several veteran free agents that includes future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson.
A year ago, after the Vikings had released Peterson instead of paying him $18 million, he signed with the Saints, where his teammates couldn't talk enough about how amazing he looked during offseason practices.
"I'm amazed, honestly. Seeing him just take off his first few steps are as explosive as I've ever seen by a human being," left tackle Terron Armstead said.
"It's ridiculous. He has not lost any steps," safety Kenny Vaccaro added.
And Drew Brees said, "There's something about handing the ball off to that guy and watching him run through the hole and take on anybody who tries to tackle him."
When the 2017 regular season started, Peterson carried the ball six times for 18 yards in the opener against his former team, the Vikings, and watched Minnesota second-rounder Dalvin Cook break the franchise record for rushing yards by a rookie. Peterson lasted four games in New Orleans where he managed just 81 yards, 3.0 yards per carry, and didn't score once. He was traded in October to Arizona, where things improved slightly; he rushed for 134 yards in his Week 6 debut, and ran for 159 more yards in Week 9, but missed the final five games with a neck injury. In six games with the Cardinals, he finished with 448 rushing yards, 3.5 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
Which brings us to the present day, where Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, who like Peterson is a former Oklahoma star, thinks the 33-year-old running back is as spry as ever.
"I don't understand the stigma when people get 31, 32, 33 -- they somehow just slow down?" Williams said, via the Washington Times' Matthew Paras. "You don't. That's a gifted athlete, you know? He has a gift. Did Darrell Green ever lose his speed? He didn't. Some things are just always with you. It's you, it's your makeup, it's your DNA. ... So, no, he's the same athlete that you're used to seeing. He hasn't slowed down a step."
Peterson's recent history suggests otherwise, as does the average production for running backs on the wrong side of 30. But Williams remains convinced that Peterson can still play at a high level.
"You don't bring a guy like that in to be depth. You don't," he said. "So whatever role he's given, I'm pretty sure he would go with it. But if he's coming in here and they sign him, he's coming in to help. He's not coming in to fill up the last few spots on the roster."
Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa are also reportedly set to visit the Redskins.
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