It is rare indeed when a linebacker takes a look across the line of scrimmage and thinks to himself “That guy is so tough he could be one of us.’’

Defensive players usually believe they have the patent on toughness. But not with the running back the winless Giants must deal with Monday night.

“Everybody knows that Adrian Peterson is a special player’’ said linebacker Jon Beason getting ready for this third game with his new team. “I like to tell people he should be playing on the defensive side of the ball with his determination the way he plays every down like it’s his last. I love to watch him play football. It’s a big challenge but it’s an opportunity to do something great.’’

Peterson usually is the one doing the something great but not so much when he faces the Giants. The NFL Most Valuable Player in 2012 Peterson has played against the Giants three times in his seven-year career and he hasn’t wrecked those games as he has so many others. In 2008 his 103 yards were misleading as on 20 rushing attempts he gained just 36 yards but on one second-quarter run he scored on a 67-yard touchdown. In 2009 the Giants limited him to nine carries and 54 yards and in 2010 they put the hammer down on Peterson as he managed only 26 yards on 14 carries.

“I think everyone would say he’s the best back in the league’’ Justin Tuck said. “The thing about him is I’ve played him three times and it just seems like you can play him pretty good for three quarters or for 75 or 80 percent of the runs he has it’s that one play where he takes it for 70 that makes your rushing stats look [terrible].

“He’s that dynamic. You’ve got to play your best run defense against him every play and if you don’t he’s the type of back that can take it home.