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Adrian Peterson: Cardinals grabbed my attention last summer

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) after the Vikings 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr., after an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The thought of Adrian Peterson in an Arizona Cardinals uniform is nearly a decade old.

The idea, though, resurfaced and gained steam — almost to a boiling point — this offseason.

Peterson’s present and future in Minnesota was in question after he spent the final 15 games of 2014 between the suspended list and the commissioner’s exempt list due to charges of child abuse.

If Peterson and the Vikings didn’t patch up their differences, then where, if any place at all, might one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game land?

Arizona reportedly was on the short list.

“When I was going through that process, of course Arizona was a place that grabbed my attention, especially with the type of season they had last year and the warm weather,” Peterson confirmed on Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.

How close did it come to a realization?

“I don’t want to get into all that,” he said, choosing not to rehash the past.

Peterson, however, did admit he pictured himself in the Cardinals’ offense, specifically teaming up with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a good friend and Minnesota native.

“Fitz is a guy I looked up to when I was in high school and has just been an amazing player,” he said.  “I’ve always envisioned having him on my team, even if he came to Minnesota.”

Now, Peterson and the Cardinals were first linked together — and perhaps will forever be — in the 2007 NFL Draft.

That year, even though they needed a running back, the Cardinals selected Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown with the fifth overall pick.

Peterson, a junior out of Oklahoma, was drafted two picks later by Minnesota, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

“Yes, I think about that sometimes,” he said.  “My uncle, Ivory Lee Brown, played for the Cardinals for about three or four years. So during that process (over the summer), I was like, ‘It’d be pretty cool to go down there and play for the same team my uncle played for.’”

Though still not together, Peterson and the Cardinals will share the same field Thursday night when the Vikings visit University of Phoenix Stadium.

The ‘what if’ question remains.

“Oh man, could you imagine?  I always mess with Steve (Keim, general manager). I’m like, ‘Steve, we should’ve just took him with the fifth pick a couple of years back. We might have a couple of Super Bowls right now,” Fitzgerald joked.

“Just watching Adrian and seeing the success he’s been able to have. People were saying that if he still he had it. I think he’s been outstanding; one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league. He accounts for more offensive yards than any player in the National Football League for his ball club. It’s been fun to watch him. I hope he has a quiet evening on Thursday and then finishes real, real strong for them.”

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