-- MINNEAPOLIS -- Optimism around the Minnesota Vikings is running high as the team prepares to defend its NFC North title -- so high that running back Adrian Peterson said everyone on the team's roster should be harboring Super Bowl expectations.
The running back restated his belief on Wednesday that the Vikings "have the pieces" to win their first Super Bowl next February. What's more, the NFL's leading rusher said if any of his teammates aren't thinking the same way, they shouldn't be here.
"We have a long way to go, but we have the pieces of what it takes to accomplish that. So there's nothing wrong with saying it," Peterson said. "If any other guy on this team don't feel that way, we should trade him and bring somebody in that feels that [we can win a Super Bowl]. We all know what we are trying to accomplish and I feel like we have what it takes."
Peterson, who turned 31 in March, makes his offseason home in Houston, and is hoping he'll be playing for a championship there in February.
He said he's trying to become a better fit in the offense on shotgun runs, and get smoother as a pass-catcher. He said after last season he needed to be more versatile, citing running back Jerick McKinnon as an example of what he needs to bring to the offense. And while it remains to be seen how many new facets Peterson can add to his game at age 31, he's feeling a sense of urgency to help push the Vikings over the top.
"I don't see an end in my future anywhere soon, but of course, I know I'm coming around to that last lap," he said. "I'm itching to get a couple [Super Bowls] before I'm done playing this game, so we need to start immediately."