Just four days after joining the Redskins, Adrian Peterson looked right at home in his 2018 debut. The 33-year old looked fresh and spry while racking up 11 carries for 56 yard on 14 of 25 first-team snaps (56%). This backfield is wide-open following Derrius Guice’s season-ending ACL tear, and Peterson showed far more upside than plodding mates Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine. Perhaps now the favorite for early-down work, AP suddenly becomes a highly-intriguing “Penny Stock.”
Entering the contest, the Redskins reportedly wanted “to see if AP can still be explosive by how he hits the hole. Or how he handles having consecutive carries.” Consider both boxes checked off emphatically, as Peterson hit the hole hard all night, and displayed excellent vision on a few runs which he bounced outside and turned no-gainers into 10+ yards. His last carry was the exclamation point, as the Redskins turned to Peterson on a 4th-and-inches that appeared dead in the hole, but he displayed his trademark jump-cut to get outside and gain 15 yards.
Considering the slugs AP’s competing with, just this quick showing might be all HC Jay Gruden needs to see to hand over early down work. Post-game, Gruden raved: “I saw a big guy running pretty hard,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “The thing I liked about some of his runs is, he looked like he had a gains of 1 yard and fell forward for 3. I thought [the first run] was a 3-yard gain, and all of a sudden it’s second-and-3. I was impressed with Adrian the way he ran.”
Overall, AP seems on the path to significant work behind PFF’s 12th best line, and inside an offense that should move the ball well under Alex Smith. Even if it wasn’t pretty, AP showed the ability to shoulder a heavy workload in Arizona last year, including 26 – 134 – 2 TD and 37 – 159 efforts (mixed in with three games under 2.0 YPC). If he holds up and can gain a stranglehold on the early-down work, AP could certainly carve out flex value, making him well-worth a 9th or 10th round stab.