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Drew Brees likely to make preseason debut; Adrian Peterson could join him

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have played their veteran starters less than ever before during this preseason, with Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram and Cameron Jordan being held out of the first two games.

Saints coach Sean Payton said that will likely change in Saturday’s game against the Houston Texans.

“We haven’t met yet. We’ll sit down and go through the roles. And I’m sure we’re gonna want to see them play some,” Payton said. “How much, we’ll see.”

Payton explained that the increase in joint practices with other teams in recent years has reduced the “sense of urgency” to play veterans in preseason games because you can create specific scenarios to work on in practice, such as two-minute drills and red-zone drills.

The Saints practiced against the Los Angeles Chargers in L.A. last week and will host the Texans in a joint practice Thursday.

This is only the second time in Brees’ 12 years with the Saints that he sat out the first two preseason games. The other was 2014, when he was dealing with an oblique injury. He has never skipped an entire preseason.

Peterson, meanwhile, hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2013 and hasn’t touched the ball in the preseason since 2011. So the 32-year-old isn’t a sure thing to play Saturday.

But Peterson, who spent his first 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, said earlier this summer that he is “maybe” itching to play a little more this preseason now that he is with a new team. Peterson has already bucked past trends by joining the Saints for their entire offseason program in the spring and summer.

Payton also said center Max Unger will play in either the third or fourth preseason game – and maybe both – after returning from foot surgery last week.

Payton said he still believes it’s important for players to get a little experience “in a live setting” in the preseason. He also plans to bring the team to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for a practice Friday to get used to the lighting and the surface because they’ve played their first two games on the road.