Sean Payton: Adrian Peterson not declining like most older running backs

Adrian Peterson is 32 years old and is coming off a knee injury that kept him out for most of the 2016 season, but he shows no signs of slowing down. That’s the message Sean Payton and others are sending as the New Orleans Saints get deeper into OTAs.

“He’d be the one guy that you would say’s already gone against conventional wisdom,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “With not only his skillset, but also his physical ability and the way he trains, I think he is excited to get back.”

Payton is not giving too much away here besides saying the running back isn’t aging like other backs. However, Peterson’s new teammates are gushing over what they see every day.

“If you look at him, he’s a specimen, he’s cut out of granite,” new Saints guard Larry Warford said. “Don’t shake his hand.”

Of course, Peterson’s hand shake is legendary. So also is his ability to explode off the ball into the hole. And apparently, his knee injury from last year is not keeping him from continuing to display otherworldly burst.

“I’m amazed, honestly,” left tackle Terron Armstead said. “Seeing him just take off, his first two steps are as explosive as I’ve ever seen by a human being. It’s unbelievable. I’m excited to see him when the pads get on.

“The cuts that he makes, from his size,” Armstead said. “I’ve seen Darren Sproles make cuts with a low center of gravity, but Adrian Peterson being over 6-feet and making those cuts, it’s remarkable.”

Of course, all of this talk is getting fans excited about what Peterson could potentially bring to the table this fall. But it’s important to remember how quickly things can change. The Saints are going without pads right now, and even before his injury last year Peterson was an ineffective runner.

It’s going to be fascinating to see what he can bring to the table when it’s not just shorts and helmets this summer.