It really does not need to happen.
Peterson has rushed for 10,115 yards and 86 touchdowns during seven NFL seasons. He rarely complains about Minnesota’s lack of success despite having only three playoff seasons. The running back has been forced to endure Tavaris Jackson, Gus Frerotte, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel as his quarterbacks. Outside of Brett Favre’s outstanding season in 2009, Peterson has been forced to carry the Vikings every year.
Nobody has ever questioned Peterson’s leadership ability, but the running back wants to show first-year coach Mike Zimmer he is someone who can be relied on.
"I'm sure not only me, but everyone else on the team has to prove that they are leaders of the team," Peterson told TwinCities.com. "That is something that I take pride in."
Heck, Peterson’s willingness to prove he is a leader shows he is one.
The leadership subject in Minnesota began after Zimmer recently told a radio station he did not believe being a well-known player meant that person was a leader.
"Obviously, you'd like to have your great players be the leaders, and it could be that Adrian is," Zimmer told Austin, Texas, station 104.9 The Horn (via TwinCities.com). "But it's more about how the guys react with one another. We'll take the minicamp (this spring) to try to figure out who really is the leader of the group here."
Of course, it works both ways.
Minnesota’s past two coaches have been Brad Childress and Leslie Frazier. Zimmer must prove he can build and maintain a winning franchise, something his predecessors were unable to do. If Peterson has something to prove, Zimmer has a lot to demonstrate.
Peterson rushed for 1,266 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, but said a groin and foot injury limited his production. He had groin surgery after the season and expects to participate in offseason workouts.
"I can't say I'm back right now," Peterson told TwinCities.com, "but I'm not far off that at all."
Peterson does not have anything to prove, but his willingness to try reflects his leadership ability.
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