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Vikings’ backfield buys into self-preservation

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MANKATO, Minn. — Adrian Peterson used to lobby for preseason carries. He’d be itching for contact that isn’t permitted to come his way during training camp for obvious reasons.

But now he’s older. Wiser.

At 30, he’s OK with a cautious plan that includes a fourth consecutive preseason without Peterson carrying the football.

“I’ve been doing it for a long time now,” Peterson said. “So I really grew out of trying to play in the preseason. It really doesn’t matter. You might as well throw out all your marbles when it really counts.”

Peterson hasn’t carried the ball in the preseason since 2011. His only action in that time was three snaps in the third game of the 2013 preseason. He also endured no contact in those three plays.

Peterson said he’s looking forward to his first contact in almost a year. He played only the season opener last year before missing the final 15 games while dealing with the fallout of child abuse charges.

“I am looking forward to it, but also with that being said, I’m being patient as well,” he said. “I think I can wait until the first (regular season) game against the Niners” on Sept. 14.”

For now, just getting back to football has been a joy for Peterson.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “It’s relaxing. It’s a different mindset going into it. The best thing has just been being around the fellas.”

While Peterson is being preserved, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater did his part this offseason to address his own self-preservation by packing on muscle to protect his body.

“He was a little bit thin, I guess is the best way to say it,” said Zimmer, referring to his then-208-pound QB.

The Vikings told Bridgewater to hit the gym hard to pack on some muscle but not exceed 215 pounds. Bridgewater does what he’s told and he came back somewhere in between.

“I was able to put on some weight. Most of it was muscle,” he said. “I’ve been trying to make sure that I’m building myself up to withstand the hits I’m going to take all year and withstand the long season that’s ahead.”

Bridgewater said the extra muscle also has helped his throwing.

“It allows me to have more zip on the ball, but also that comes with technique,” he said. “Sometimes I drop my elbow too low and the ball may sail on me. So some of it is muscle and strength. The other half is technique.”


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