Adrian Peterson has turned in hot and cold performances, twice, with his new team.
The Arizona running back joined the club on October 10 after being dealt from New Orleans for a conditional sixth round pick. He promptly rumbled for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a win over the Buccaneers. The next week, though, he was held to 21 yards on 11 carries by the Rams. He bounced back with 37 carries for 159 yards on November 5 at San Francisco, but was limited to 29 yards on 21 carries in a Thursday night loss at home to Seattle.
Nevertheless, the Texans hold Peterson in high regard.
"There's no doubt about the fact that he still has it," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "You think about his workout regimen in the offseason here in Houston, it's legendary. He's another guy that's defying age, especially at that position where basically the history of the game tells you when you're 30 years or older, that's about it for you."
For the last few years, Peterson has trained at his gym here in the Houston Heights, and done so with a handful of Texans. Linebackers Brian Peters and Jadeveon Clowney, as well as running back Alfred Blue are among those who've worked out from time-to-time with Peterson. Even though the 11-year veteran is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry with the Cards, Clowney is amazed at Peterson's abilities.
"It's incredible," Clowney said. "The guy runs hard. Just don't let him get up to your second level. As a defense, it's going to be a long day for us. We have to bottle him up early before he gets going."
Seven times--all of them as a Viking--Peterson has gained 1,000 yards or more in an NFL season, and he broke loose for 2,097 yards in 2012. He picked up 86 of those 2,097 in a Week 16 win over the Texans at NRG Stadium that year. A Hall of Fame resume combined with a strong work ethic has been a welcome sight for Arizona head coach Bruce Arians.
"He runs in the walkthrough," Arians said. "He's just one of those guys. He's the ultimate professional as far as how he prepares and how he takes care of himself."
Kickoff between the Texans and Cardinals is set for noon CT at NRG Stadium on Sunday.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 12/29/2020)