Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson to follow Colin Kaepernick, plans to kneel this season

Adrian Peterson to follow Colin Kaepernick, plans to kneel this season

For those that have a problem with athletes kneeling during the national anthem, well, you better get used it. 

Following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man in the hands of Minneapolis police custody, Washington running back Adrian Peterson said he plans to kneel during the 2020 NFL season. And it looks like he won't be alone. 

"Without a doubt," Peterson said to reporters on Friday. "We're all getting ready to take a knee together."

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first athlete to kneel during the anthem as a peaceful protest against racial and social injustices, along with police brutality, throughout the 2016 season. He hasn't played in the NFL since, and also hasn't been offered a contract. 

Many people, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, have shown they don't understand what message Kaepernick was trying to spread. The same goes with New Orleans Saints star QB Drew Brees before he apologized multiple times

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Peterson wants everyone to be on notice: Kneeling will happen. 

Other athletes around the world have been kneeling in recent days. Once the NFL season begins this year, there likely will be a large group of players doing the same.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Adrian Peterson did not like 49ers' trade for Trent Williams

Why Adrian Peterson did not like 49ers' trade for Trent Williams

Few people are more important in a running back's life than his offensive line. For Washington running back Adrian Peterson, one of those special people had been Trent Williams for the past two seasons Peterson had been in the nation's capital.

Now that the 49ers swooped in and acquired Williams for two draft picks, Peterson isn't thrilled about losing the seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

“I didn’t like the trade,” Peterson said. “Obviously, I feel like Trent is the best offensive lineman in the game.

“I was hoping that there’d be some good ending.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

With Joe Staley announcing his retirement in late April, it took less than 24 hours for 49ers general manager John Lynch to find a replacement in Williams, who some experts see as an upgrade to Staley.

Peterson seemed to feel Williams' absence in 2019, as nearly all of the former All-Pro running back's numbers declined while Williams was out of the lineup. The left tackle held out for the first half of the season due to past medical issues, before being placed on the non-football injury list after failing a physical upon his return. Williams was given permission to seek a trade in March.

[RELATED: Raheem Mostert sad, excited by 49ers trading Matt Breida]

Washington was able to close the loop on a year-long beef with Williams, but Peterson clearly is concerned about the void at tackle for his offensive line.

Deebo Samuel and the 49ers offense, on the other hand, have to be licking their chops with Williams joining the fold.

49ers' Jerick McKinnon to work out with Adrian Peterson on comeback trail

49ers' Jerick McKinnon to work out with Adrian Peterson on comeback trail

Jerick McKinnon is about to put himself through the ultimate test. After missing two straight seasons to a torn ACL, the 49ers running back is out to prove himself this season. 

As he continues his comeback trail, McKinnon told The Athletic's Matt Barrows that he is going to train with Washington running back Adrian Peterson in Houston. 

“I feel like it’s my last test to really see how it feels,” McKinnon said to Barrows. “There’s a lot of hard work going on down there. That’s really where I’m going to amp it up as hard as I can and see where it goes.”

Peterson took McKinnon under his wings when the Minnesota Vikings drafted him in 2014. The former Georgia Southern star quickly learned what he was in for as the 2012 NFL MVP took him through 3 1/2-hour workouts. Proving himself through a Peterson workout will be a huge step for McKinnon and the 49ers alike. 

McKinnon was Kyle Shanahan's No. 1 target in free agency two years ago. The 49ers handed the running back a four-year, $30 million contract on the first day of free agency in 2018. Since then, he hasn't played in a single game for San Francisco. 

But the 49ers still believe in McKinnon. He's exactly what Shanahan wants in his offense. Even after missing the last two seasons to torn ACLs, the 49ers agreed to a reduced contract with McKinnon this offseason. If healthy, that will turn out to be a steal. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Tevin Coleman led all 49ers running backs with 21 receptions last season. He and Raheem Mostert each had 180 receiving yards. In 2017, McKinnon's last healthy season, he hauled in 51 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns. That skill sets him apart from the rest of the 49ers' deep backfield. 

The 49ers traded Matt Breida to the Miami Dolphins during the NFL draft and opted not to take a back with any of their picks. They did add Washington’s Salvon Ahmed and Baylor’s JaMycal Hasty as undrafted free agents. Going into the 2020 season, San Francisco still has a deep group of running backs with McKinnon in Mostert, Coleman and Jeff Wilson.

That actually could be good news for him.

Shanahan likes to rotate backs, never having a true No. 1. McKinnon never was going to be a bell cow in this offense. He can be used sparingly and even as a slot receiver or in motion for jet sweeps. 

McKinnon told Barrows his knee feels normal and he hasn’t had the pain or soreness that hurt him when he was coming back from his original injury last year. Video proves that to be true so far. 

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“I feel now that I’m getting back to where I was effortlessly," McKinnon said to Barrows. 

It's easy to see McKinnon becoming one of Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite targets for quick passes in open space. He has to be healthy, though, and working out with a legend like Peterson is a huge step forward.