This Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley will be going head-to-head with someone he looked up to in Redskins RB Adrian Peterson.
"That's a crazy crazy statement to even think about," Barkley said after practice Thursday. "Growing up, watching Adrian Peterson, big fan of his game. Even now, he's still a special talent. He's been doing it for so long. To be able to watch him play live is definitely going to be something that I'm excited to see."
Like many others do, Barkley had nothing but praise for the veteran running back. But Peterson has also shown the 21-year-old love, saying he enjoys watching what Barkley can do on a football field.
To hear that from "a future Hall of Famers" is an honor to Barkley.
"That means a lot when you can catch the eye of a guy like that, like Adrian Peterson," Barkley said. "He's one of the best running backs to ever play in this game -- a future Hall of Famer. I admire his game and how he plays. For him to say that about me, especially being a young guy in the league, definitely means a lot to me."
Over his career, Peterson has always been a dual threat when it came to making defenders look silly. He could dance and cut in the open field, or simply line you up and run you over.
Barkley enjoys seeing the latter.
"He just runs through anybody in his way," Barkley said on Peterson. "Hopefully, he doesn't do that this week against our team. I guess you can say that I just love how aggressive he plays, or his aggressive nature that no matter if there's 12 guys in front of him, he's going to just try to plow them over. That's something that I can continue to add to my game, I guess you can say."
Even though Barkley will be admiring Peterson from the sideline, his mind will be solely on picking up a much-needed win at home against the NFC East-leading Redskins. The Giants have now lost four straight games after their Monday Night Football defeat to the Falcons.
Coming from a winning program like Penn State, Barkley isn't used to this kind of adversity, and he was blunt when describing how he feels about it.
"It sucks, I'm not going to lie to you," he said. "It sucks being 1-6 right now. I think everybody in this locker room would tell you that because we're all competitors and we all want to win. We're not happy with being 1-6, but it sounds crazy, everything happens for a reason."
For the first time this season, Barkley was held under 100 scrimmage yards against Atlanta as he rushed fo a season-low 43 yards while collecting 51 receiving yards. Even after an off night, Barkley still leads all rookies in rushing and receiving yards as well as touchdowns this season.
But a one-man army can't come away with a win in this league, and Barkley knows what it will come down to for the Giants to walk away winners on Sunday.
"Execution -- we all know that," he said. "When we go back and we watch film, we see on the film all the plays we left out there. Execution, scoring points, especially on the offensive side of the ball. That's the simplest way to put it."
Not only does Barkley want to walk away a winner on Sunday, but he is also hoping to walk away with a souveneir from one of his football idols.
"Yeah, I'm not going to lie," Barkley said. "That'll be pretty cool if I was able to trade jerseys with Adrian, but you never know."