Adrian Peterson would 'love' to return to Redskins

The Washington Redskins endured a tough season with injuries, but remained in the hunt for the playoffs late into the regular season despite the loss of quarterback Alex Smith.

Through it all, the Redskins had one constant on offense with running back Adrian Peterson, who joined the team on a one-year deal in August to bolster depth after rookie Derrius Guice suffered a torn ACL.

While the Redskins' (7-8) season ends Sunday with an opportunity to finish with a .500 record, Peterson doesn't have immediate plans for the future outside of returning to Houston to train during the offseason.

But when the league enters the business portion of the offseason ahead of the league's new calendar year in March, the running back would embrace a potential return to Washington.

"I would definitely love to come back here and finish off on a better note," Peterson said Thursday, via the Redskins' official website. "I feel like we have a great group of guys here. All the adversity we've faced this year and how guys have responded and continue to come to work and really stay focused shows a lot about this team, this locker room, the coaches surrounding us, as well. So, that's something I would love to be a part of."

Peterson proved a lot of doubters wrong in 2018 following a disappointing 2017 campaign split between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals.

Peterson showed he still had plenty in the tank and flashed the skill set that made him one of the NFL's dominant offensive players from 2007 to 2016, a span where he totaled 11,717 yards rushing and 82 touchdowns with the Minnesota Vikings. The veteran rusher also garnered All-Pro honors four times in Minnesota and was the league's MVP in 2012.

With the Redskins, Peterson produced his eighth career 1,000-yard rushing campaign to become the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 1,000-plus yards in a season at age 33-plus. He also moved into eighth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

Peterson's contributions played a large role in the Redskins' success this season, as the team posted a 5-2 record in games when Peterson totaled 90 or more yards rushing. He also proved durable, and has an opportunity in Week 17 to finish the season playing in all 16 regular-season games.

"I'm not surprised by it, but it doesn't happen very often for a back of his age to do what he's done, accomplished what he's accomplished, getting over 1,000 yards, playing through some painful injuries, really," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "Practicing, working hard, being a great teammate, just been very impressed with Adrian's total package so to speak."

Whether Peterson does return remains to be seen, but Gruden appeared open to the idea of bringing back Peterson in 2019 to join the backfield with Guice.

"Yeah, it could happen," Gruden said. "We'll see what happens. I'm sure he's got to weigh his options out, as do we and we'll go from there. But, like I said, we're a long way from that. We're just trying to focus on the Eagles right now and put our best foot forward to try and get a win the last game of the year."

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