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Saints' Adrian Peterson 'itching' to play in preseason

Preseason games for the entire NFL start next week, which means we'll be greeted with a wave of reports on which starters will play and which will sit out in the ramp up to the regular season.

Adrian Peterson hasn't seen a preseason snap since 2013 and hasn't taken a handoff during one since 2011. Perennially held out of preseason action in Minnesota, the veteran running back hopes to see some action with his New Orleans Saints teammates.

"Maybe I'm itching a little more this offseason," Peterson said, via Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune. "Plus, I don't know how they do things. If the starters go out there and play no matter what, then I'm buttoning up and I'm going. But when that time comes, we'll talk a little more about it."

Coming off a season in which he played just three games due to injury, Peterson said he's healthy and that knocking the rust off during preseason contests could help further his learning of Sean Payton's offense.

"I'm healthy, without a doubt," Peterson said. "I'm not exactly where I want to be, but I'm working towards that and working extremely hard. In my mind, it's just each day working on the little things that are going to make you better."

The question for Payton will be whether he thinks deploying Peterson on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns is worth the injury risk.

"I feel pretty comfortable with where I think he is," Payton said. "I've seen drills where we've cranked it up where he's been in and then periodically we'll hold him back. Right now, that's further down on the list of my concerns because I feel like I've seen a few [good] series."

Stay tuned for future updates on Peterson's preseason journey and that of many other high-profile players.

Here's a rundown of what we learned from Saturday's NFL training camps:

  1. Adam Gase confirmed he talked with Jay Cutler about possibly joining the Miami Dolphins if Ryan Tannehill undergoes ACL surgery. The entire situation remains in limbo. It's unclear if Cutler wants to return. If so, at what price? The team also hasn't even decided if Tannehill will go under the knife and there's no timetable for his return.

The Dolphins are off Sunday, so unless Cutler comes out and says he doesn't want to play, this situation could linger into next week.

  1. Trevor Siemian's consistent play during the Denver Broncos' scrimmage on Saturday appears to put him in the lead for the starting QB job, via Troy Renck of ABC 7 Denver.

Coach Vance Joseph gave a politically neutral answer when assessing the play of Simian and Paxton Lynch.

"I saw from Trevor that he was very consistent with his ball placement. He had one ball knocked down by [Adam Gotsis], not his fault, but very solid," Joseph said. "Paxton, outside the interception, was very solid. Again, his best play of the day was called back. That would have been a pretty good drive for him. Very solid for both guys."

  1. Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn conceded contract talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford aren't close to a conclusion.

"Matt has taken this situation with his contract in stride," Quinn said, via the Detroit Free Press. "It doesn't bother him, it doesn't me. I'm confident we'll get something done. There's a long way to go on that, but it's good on both sides."

We've traversed this wilderness before, but it's worth restating Stafford owns all the leverage in contract talks.

  1. Speaking of Stafford, the battle to protect his blind side is not going swimmingly. A sampling from the Lions' mock game at Ford Field in which Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson struggle miserably:

Detroit needs to conjure some magic healing potions for Taylor Decker ASAP.

  1. Training camp buzz for Nelson Agholor continues. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah -- an ex-Eagles scout -- believes the receiver will play more slot this season.

"Nelson Agholor has had a total rebirth," Jeremiah said, via PhillyVoice. "He's in the slot. He's going to live in the slot. He's going to be their slot receiver. I'll be shocked if he's not. I don't know what that means for Jordan Matthews."

If Agholor lives up to that hype, could that make Matthews -- the Eagles' best receiver last year -- trade bait?

  1. The Tyreek Hill-Alex Smith connection is the hottest topic of Kansas City Chiefs camp. Each day the reviews of the shifty Hill get stronger. Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star noted the "budding chemistry" between the QB and WR, including a long touchdown toss Saturday.

This dispatch came Friday:

Buy shares of Hill, fantasy friends.

  1. Keeping with the hype-train theme, add another running back to the Seattle Seahawks logjam.

Seventh-round tailback Chris Carson continues to impress coaches and teammates. Receiver Doug Baldwin said Carson is the most polished rookie he's been around. "He has all the tools," Baldwin said, via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.

The question is whether Carson can do enough to push for snaps behind Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, etc. Carson is a player to keep an eye on during preseason games, when  he should get plenty of carries.

  1. While Donald Penn waits out his holdout, the Oakland Raiders tackle is working with two Hall of Fame offensive linemen, Jackie Slater and Orlando Pace, NFL Network's Steve Wyche reported.


  1. The Minnesota Vikings keep paying star defenders. The team gave nose tackle Linval Josepha four-year, $50 million extension, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Joseph's deal comes on the heels of the Vikes paying Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes big money.
  1. A day after claiming him off waivers from the 49ers, the New York Jetswaived running back Bruce Ellington with a failed physical designation.


  1. Broncos safety T.J. Ward is nursing a minor hamstring injury and will sit out the first preseason game. The injury shouldn't hinder Ward opening the regular season on the field.
  1. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Malcolm Smith is done for the season after suffering a torn pectoal muscle in practice, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport. The 49ers later confirmed the injury. The veteran signed a five-year, $26.5 million deal in March.
  1. Good news and bad news for the Arizona Cardinals.

First the good news: Coach Bruce Arians said linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle) is on target to return for the season opener, per the team's official website.

Bad news: fifth-round running back T.J. Logan dislocated his wrist and will be out 12 weeks after surgery.

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