MINNEAPOLIS — This Sunday, Adrian Peterson will line up in the Minnesota Vikings’ backfield for his 10th season opener at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. Standing in the backfield with him will be Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford, the 12th starting quarterback the Vikings have used during Peterson’s career in Minnesota.
While it’s probably overly simplistic to assume the Vikings will cope with their quarterback uncertainty just by feeding Peterson the ball, there’s little doubt his presence is a calming factor for the team’s two quarterbacks as the Vikings try to figure out which one of them will replace Bridgewater this week.
“It’s nice knowing that we’ve got the best running back in the game and one of the best defenses in the league,” Bradford said. “We’re probably not going to have to go out there and throw it 60-plus times a game and put up a lot of points. But you still have to come in and you still have to put in the time to learn the new offense. I want to be efficient as I possibly can when I step on the field.”
Whether Bradford or Hill is on the field this Sunday, Peterson begins his 10th season as a focal point of the Vikings’ offense, ready to do his part for a team he’s consistently said is capable of winning a championship. The goal, Peterson said, has not changed.
“We have an opportunity,” he said. “It is very unfortunate to have the [Bridgewater] injury happen. It takes a team to win a championship, so we are still chasing the same thing.”
Asked if he has considered taking a knee during the national anthem, Baldwin said, “I have. I want to make sure that I get all of my ducks in a row before I do so.”
Added Avril: “We’re thinking about it. I am. I truly respect what Kaep is doing. I think some people are taking it out of context because they’re not experiencing the same thing other people are experiencing. They can’t really see it. But as a person that does see it and does see what’s really going on out here, I definitely could see me doing something about it as well.”
Baldwin recently posted a message on Facebook in which a member of the military told the wide receiver that he’d support him if he were to kneel for the anthem.
Baldwin and several of his teammates spent a day training with combat divers this offseason and have discussed their respect for the armed forces.
After Kaepernick’s initial protest, Baldwin said he reached out to the 49ers quarterback and talked to him extensively.
“My grandfather being in the military, it hit home for me as well,” Baldwin said. “It’s the veterans. That’s more heartening to me than anything. It’s the veterans that have reached out and said that that’s what they fought for. That’s what they sacrificed their lives for was to give people back home under the flag, under the country, the opportunity to stand up or sit for what they believe in. So that was very heartening for me to hear that and that response from the veterans.”
Avril said he doesn’t see the gesture as one that disrespects the military.