But the 33-year-old Peterson's experiences in recent seasons should suit him well.
"Like I told Coach, whatever he asks, I'm going to do," Peterson told reporters Tuesday. "The things that I've been doing for the past two years -- of course being in New Orleans last year and finishing off in Arizona -- is just being a great teammate. I have a lot of knowledge being around for a long time, so helping these young guys and not only just the running backs, but guys at different positions as well."
The Redskins signed Peterson after a workout that impressed coach Jay Gruden as the session went on.
"He wasn't even breathing heavy," Gruden told reporters Tuesday. "He's in fantastic physical shape."
Peterson's arrival also comes in the wake of numerous backfield injuries. Rookie pick Derrius Guice, the team's second-round pick, suffered a season-ending torn ACL, while Samaje Perine (ankle) and Byron Marshall (leg) are also dealing with ailments suffered in preseason action.
Washington still has Chris Thompson, who continues to work back from a broken fibula, and Rob Kelley, who currently projects as the starter. But Peterson sees a chance to contribute to what he believes is a team on the rise.
"I think it's a great opportunity to come in and help -- what I see as a great offense -- a young offense and defense as well," Peterson said.
Whether the veteran running back can make an impact in Washington remains to be seen, but there's no denying his credentials even if he does have his share of critics who think he's too old to be an effective contributor. "They don't know football," Peterson said.
From 2007 to 2016, Peterson enjoyed a decorated 10-season run with the Minnesota Vikings, where he rushed for 11,717 yards and 82 touchdowns. He also garnered All-Pro honors four times and the NFL's Most Valuable Player award in 2012.
Peterson found himself buried behind Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, and totaled just 81 yards rushing on 27 carries, averaging 3 yards per attempt, and two catches for 4 yards in four games before the Saints traded him to Arizona. He found some success with the Cardinals, totaling 448 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 129 carries before landing on injured reserve with a neck injury.
Given the presence of Kelley and Thompson, the Redskins likely won't rely on Peterson as the featured rusher, a role he thrived in with the Vikings. At this stage of his career, Peterson just needs to find his niche while helping out wherever he can.