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Adrian Peterson will play in preseason 'if he wants to'

There comes a time when some NFL players reach a level of insurmountable fame that even the most Parcells-ian of head coaches are rendered powerless to control.

In Minnesota, that person is Adrian Peterson and his coach, Mike Zimmer, was asked when or if the star running back would be taking preseason snaps.

"If he wants to," Zimmer said, via the Star-Tribune.

He added: "Well, I'm going to sit down and talk to him about it. If he wants to play, we'll discuss what we think. If he goes in there, he's probably not going to get one pass and out. He's going to play."

According to the Tribune, Peterson has not taken the field before the regular season opener in three years and has not logged a rushing stat in the preseason in five years. While it makes perfect sense given the short lifespan at the position and the increased potential for a devastating injury, Zimmer at least seems remotely interested in seeing his offensive centerpiece against another opponent before their season opener on Sept. 11.

Peterson himself said back in May that he was 'itching' to play in the preseason, and agreed with Zimmer's assessment from 2015 that, after so much time away, Peterson could benefit from working in an exhibition game.

The problem, of course, is that it's just too easy not to. Peterson has a remarkable track record of staying healthy save for the torn ACL he suffered in 2011. He knows his body well enough to decide whether the risk of preseason football is worth taking. That is a crucial part of what makes a great player great, and what earns him the right to choose whether he works before September.

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