“My dad lives in Dallas,” Peterson said Thursday. “(He said) you guys might need to bring him in, so it’s ironic that it ended up working out that way.”
Peterson and Griffen were “like this,” Peterson said, crossing his fingers, during their playing days with the Minnesota Vikings, and even more ironic is their first game together will come next week in Minnesota against their former team.
The Lions traded a conditional 2021 draft pick to the Dallas Cowboys for Griffen on Tuesday, but the defensive end needs to pass COVID-19 tests on five consecutive days before he’s allowed to join his new team.
He won't play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but is expected to make his first appearance inside the Lions’ Allen Park practice facility Monday.
“I was excited,” Peterson said. “Bring back some old memories and it’s going to be good to have him in the building just because the energy, his whole vibe. He’s a heck of a player as well.”
Griffen had 2.5 sacks in seven games with the Dallas Cowboys this season, and has 77 in his 11-year career. He and Peterson played seven seasons together, and Peterson told a long story Thursday about how they used to have at least one friendly, sometimes too-competitive, wrestling match in training camp every year.
One of the matches nearly spilled into a table of Chinese food the Vikings provided for players after one Friday practice.
“I rushed him, and I ended up stopping him because I was (about) to run him into all the food, which now when I think about it, I’m like I should have just sacrificed the food because when I eased up, he came full strength ahead and just, bam, slammed me into the ground,” Peterson said. “I was like, ‘Bro, you lost, you seen that I gave up.’ Like, ‘Why did you take advantage of me like that.’ (He was) like, ‘No, no, no, I had you. I had you.’ So we kind of went back and forth about that for a little bit, but that was just one of many stories I can share with you.”
In Detroit, the two are hoping to write more stories together, starting with a win over their old team next week.
Peterson, who had the most productive 10 seasons of his career in Minnesota, said he has not started thinking about that game yet and is focused for now on the Colts.
“It’s funny how things work out,” Peterson said. “Who would have thought that we would meet again playing for the Detroit Lions and the first time we’re actually going to play together will be against the Vikings? So it’s kind of cool. It’s funny how things kind of come full circle cause Everson was, when I was in Minnesota, we were like (extremely tight). So it’s good to have him here and to be a part of what we have going on.”
‘All about the ball’
The Lions are one of four NFL teams yet to lose a fumble this season, a statistic that Lions coach Matt Patricia playfully said he was not happy to hear when a reporter brought it to his attention this week.
“Yeah, set up for failure with that question,” Patricia said. “I appreciate that a lot. Little bit superstitious there, so thanks.”
Just two teams, the Green Bay Packers (two) and Tennessee Titans (three) have committed fewer total turnovers than the Lions’ four this season, though Sunday’s opponent, the Colts, ranks among the best in the league with 10 takeaways (all interceptions.
“Honestly, I just think the guys do a great job with just fundamentals,” Patricia said. “I think that is a big part of our teaching of fundamentals. From Day 1, we talk about those things. The No. 1 fundamental is ball security, and obviously trying to turn the ball over when we get those opportunities. We got a little bit of a saying, it’s called, ‘It’s all about the ball.’ And that’s the truth. We got to be all about the ball and make sure that we’re going a great job protecting it all the way through.”
Peterson, who’s dealt with fumble problems at various points in his career, credited the Lions’ defensive emphasis on takeaways as one reason for the offense’s success protecting the ball.
"I think the defense, they do a great job of during practice, punching at the ball,” he said. “Even when the whistles blow. Sometimes that obviously makes us skill players upset, because you’re running back to the huddle and you’ve got guys punching at the ball. But you can see how going through that and having to deal with that has transferred to the field. It’s something that we’ve just been focusing on and we’re just going to continue to secure the ball.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions' Adrian Peterson pumped to reunite with Everson Griffen