“I had hopes that he could be something special in a package,” Arians said. “After you see the athlete that he is, he could probably be one of the top five receivers in the league.”
Taking offensive snaps -- as Peterson did in Friday’s practice -- is one thing. Viewing your starting cornerback and punt returner as a consistent offensive weapon is quite another.
“I didn't know he was going to take it this far,” Peterson said. “He has a pretty big package for me. As a defensive player, I'm definitely honored to even be in consideration for taking some offensive snaps.”
Arians confirmed Saturday that the trend will continue.
“How big that package (will) continue to grow? It’s probably already up into the 15-play range,” Arians said. “It wouldn’t be that many in one game plan, but there’s no doubt that we’re going to utilize his skill set on offense.”
It’s easy to see why. On Friday, Peterson caught a long pass from quarterback Carson Palmer with Tyrann Mathieu defending. Later, Peterson completed a pass to Larry Fitzgerald.
“If he wasn’t playing corner, he’d probably be just as good of a receiver, H-back or Percy Harvin-type player,” Palmer said.
Arians shrugged off concerns that Peterson will tire because he also starts on defense and returns punts, giving him a large number of reps in practice.
“He’s one of those guys that can run all day,” Arians said. “He’s asking for more reps on defense and offense.”
Peterson said adding offense to his repertoire is in line with his desire to “put the whole package together” and become one of the league’s elite players.
“I'm pretty dynamic with the ball in my hands. I believe once I do have the ball in my hands and have enough space to operate with, I can be a threat to opposing defenses,” he said. “I'm not saying the offense needs help. They have great talent over there. But I guess (Arians) just wanted more explosive plays from guys that could help.”