When the lights come on, it's game time and his number is called in San Francisco Monday night, Adrian Peterson says he'll "take a deep breath and be ready to roll."
"I know from the past that when I go into a game and I'm too wired up, then you kind of forget about your principles when you're out there, being slower and letting things develop," Peterson told reporters Friday.
"I'm conscious of that," he added, "and when that first snap comes – whether it is first, second play, third play, second series, I don't know – I'll take a deep breath and be ready to roll."
Peterson hasn't played in an NFL game since Sept. 7, 2014 in St. Louis – more than a year ago.
Since then the running back went through the courts as he dealt with the allegations of child abuse last fall. He was also suspended by the NFL, then appealed and went through more court hearings.
This culminated in a lot of back and forth about whether or not he'd return to the Vikings or be traded during the offseason.
After all of that, when the lights on Monday night it will just be about football, and Peterson's aspirations are as high as ever for this Vikings team.
"The sky is the limit for what we can accomplish as a team," said Peterson. "First win a championship, that's the ultimate goal. Then I like to set my bar high, assume for big numbers, 2,500 [yards] and be productive as well in the passing game."
While Peterson has set his goals for the season pretty high, ESPN notes that he will be starting the season with a pair of starters missing from the offensive line.
Right tackle Phil Loadholt was lost for the season when he tore his Achilles early in preseason. Center John Sullivan is also out for at least the first half of the season following a surgical procedure on his spine.
The injuries have basically given the Vikings a totally new right side of the line since Peterson last carried the ball for Minnesota. Mike Harris is now the starter at right guard after Brandon Fusco shifted to left guard in the offseason.
According to the Pioneer Press, Peterson has often talked about wanting to break Emmitt Smith's NFL career rushing record. At age 30, and after eight seasons, Peterson has rushed for 10,190 yards, he needs to reach 18,355 to equal Smith.