A healthy Adrian Peterson eager to prove 'I'm still the best'

Adrian Peterson isn't posting crazy workout videos just to gain more Twitter followers.

The one-time NFL MVP hopes teams are watching, too, as he awaits an opportunity to get off the free-agent market and prove he can still be an elite running back at age 33.

"I'm healthy and I'm ready to roll," Peterson told me by phone after leaving a workout Thursday afternoon. "If you want someone to help you win a championship and be productive -- be very productive -- you know how to contact me."

Peterson knows his health is a primary issue, especially at his age after 11 NFL seasons. He played just three games in 2016 with the Vikings because of a torn meniscus in his right knee and 10 games last season with the Saints and Cardinals before a neck injury landed him on injured reserve. But Peterson says the knee is completely healed and the neck has been cleared by three doctors, including specialists in Los Angeles and Houston, where he lives and trains in the offseason.

A couple teams have called about his services, Peterson said, but no signing is imminent. He said he'd "definitely be open" to returning to the Saints, who are expected to start the season without Mark Ingram because of a four-game PED suspension. Despite his quick exit, the Saints felt Peterson was a positive influence last year in the running back room on the likes of Alvin Kamara. But NFL Network's Steve Wyche has reported they're not planning to sign a veteran.

"For whatever reason, it just didn't work out (in New Orleans), but when I got my shot in Arizona, I showed what I was able to do," said Peterson, who ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Cardinals debut Oct. 15 and racked up 159 yards in another win three weeks later at San Francisco. "I know once I get back out there, I'll be blessed with a healthy season and show people I'm still the best in the league."

Peterson says he weighs about 217 to 220 pounds, as usual. The weighted box jumps and other feats he has posted certainly suggest the rare athletic traits that have helped him run for 12,276 yards -- including 2,097 in his 2012 MVP season, coming off a torn ACL -- haven't totally vanished. But 33-year-old running backs who haven't stayed healthy aren't exactly in demand, and Peterson acknowledges he has had to guard against frustration during the continued wait. It doesn't help that many NFL coaches and scouts regard Peterson as strictly a two-down runner, though he insists he can be productive as a receiver out of the backfield, too.

"Just keep watching," Peterson said. "If you want to know what I'm up to, just check me out on social media -- you'll see the workout that I'm doing and keeping my body in shape. I'm ready. Not only that, and I say this as humble as I can, there's a lot of teams out here that have running backs that I look at that I know that I can teach a lot and I know that I can outplay, easily.

"I'm just waiting for the opportunity to come."

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.

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