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Zulgad: Little-used Adrian Peterson has unhappy homecoming

MINNEAPOLIS – Nine snaps. Six carries. 18 rushing yards. A sideline exchange with his coach that appeared to be heated.

This certainly wasn’t the return that Adrian Peterson envisioned when he learned the New Orleans Saints would open their season against his former club, the Vikings, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Peterson watched his replacement, rookie Dalvin Cook, rush for 127 yards on 22 carries in the Vikings’ 29-19 victory over the Saints on Monday night at U.S. Bank Stadium. Unfortunately for him, he also spent much of the time the Saints were on offense watching from the sideline.

This was unfamiliar territory for a guy who was used to being the focus of the offense during the majority of his 10 seasons with the Vikings. The Saints went 1-for-5 in the red zone, but Peterson often wasn’t used in those situations as he begins adjusting to being in a time share with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara.

“Obviously, being the competitor that I am, I want to be in there on every snap,” said Peterson, whose carries matched his career-low and whose rushing yards tied for the third-lowest total of his career. “But I don’t make those calls. So I’m there just waiting for my number to be called. I’ve got confidence in Mark, in Alvin, to be able to make things happen in the red zone as well. I have confidence in myself. That’s something I’ve done well.”

Peterson was hoping to show the Vikings that they made a mistake by releasing him after last season. He spent several weeks on the open market before signing a two-year, $7 million contract with the Saints in late April that includes $3.5 million in guarantees for this season.

Playing the Vikings on opening night provided the ideal setting to prove that at 32 he isn’t a declining player. Instead, he looked like a guy near the end of a brilliant career.

“It was a little different but for me, once I got out there, it was more fun,” he said of his first game in Minnesota as a visitor. “I wish I could have gotten a few more snaps, but it was fun and interesting and to just kind of get in there going up against those guys. Being around them for so long, knowing some of their tendencies. It would have played a bigger role (if) I had been in there a little more.”

Peterson’s impact was immediate as he gained 9 yards on the Saints’ first play from scrimmage. That was followed by a 1 yard gain. “I felt pretty good,” Peterson said of his first carry. “I really didn’t know what to expect coming in.”

Peterson, though, had only four touches after that and, despite the fact the Saints have attempted to talk up his ability in the receiving game, he was only targeted on one Drew Brees throw and that fell incomplete.

There was plenty of speculation about what type of reception Peterson might receive from the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium. The future Hall of Fame running back is the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher and will remembered for his performance in Purple.

But that didn’t stop fans from booing when Peterson and his Saints teammates were shown on the scoreboard coming onto the field before the game, and, if there was any question if those boos were intended for Peterson, it became clear they were when fans booed again when he carried the ball for the first time.

“You said (there were) some boos?” Peterson said when asked about the greeting. “I heard all the screaming and yelling. I didn’t hear any boos.”

This was typical Peterson. The man has the unique ability to see things the way he wants and not necessarily as they are. Maybe that’s why he tried to convince everyone that what seemed to be angry words for his coach, Sean Payton, in the third quarter shouldn’t have been considered a big deal.

“There’s no conflict. Let’s not to try spin it like it is,” Peterson said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach Payton and his offense. He’s a great mind.”

Payton also downplayed the situation saying, “there wasn’t any heated exchange.”

Told he had the ability to defuse the situation by saying that his exchange with Payton had nothing to do with the fact that Peterson had only four carries in the first two quarters, an agitated Peterson brought up the fact that too many people jump to conclusions.

“I told you it was nothing,” he said. “It’s not my first time being in situations where media, not everyone here, but people jump to conclusions and make their own assumptions when they have no idea what was going on or what was said. I could have said, ‘I love you.’ We have bigger fish to fry.”

How big of part Peterson will play in the Saints’ frying those fish is a major question after Monday.

  • Scott Myhre

    He really stuck it to us didn’t he?

    • Wilbur One

      He got confused and stuck it to his coach instead.

      • Gordon Guffey

        Outstanding reply ~ LOL

  • JonasGrumby

    Maybe he needs a switch

    • Gordon Guffey

      Great reply ~ LOL

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  • Gordon Guffey

    JuggHead said ~
    This certainly wasn’t the return that Adrian Peterson envisioned when he learned the New Orleans Saints would open their season against his former club, the Vikings, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

    It wasn’t the return you hope for either JuggHead ~ You and many of the ESPN reporters have been sniffing AP’s jockstrap every since you found out AP would be returning ~ AP made as many excuses after the game as he did before the game ~

    What we saw on the sideline was the real spoiled RB that has always got what he wanted ~ Who didn’t get what he wanted outside of being the starter the game ~ AP has never been a team player ~ Its always been about his money and his stats ~ His moneys from 2014 to 2016 could have been used to better the team ~ However he was a special talent and sometimes teams put up with childish type players ~ The Vikings are not the only team to do so ~

    That being said I tip my hat and say a big Thank You AP for everything you did as a Vikings up unit 2013 ~ While I may not like him as a person ((( child beater ))) there is little doubt about him as a player from the year he was drafted ((( I believe it was 2007 ))) to the year he was charged for abusing his son ~ I wanted the Vikings to trade him for what ever they could have got for him at that point ~ Even if it was a 2020 7th round pick ~

    • cka2nd

      Ten-to-one odds that 90% of the parents or grandparents of the people posting on this site could be called “child beaters” by today’s standards. “Child beater” used to imply that one beat children regularly and without any reasonable cause. Now, one incident that went too far, and you’re in the same category not of your parents or grandparents – who probably spanked their kids more than once, and maybe took a switch to them (or a slipper, or a paddle, or the back of a brush) – but of the people who kicked in the ribs of their kids, or broke bones on multiple occasions, or beat their kids near to death.

      Bunch of self-righteous, hippie-dippie, touchy-feely, busybody, judgemental, sagga fragga, growl, growl, mutter, mutter………

      And by the way, we should have traded Peterson and Jarrod Allen after the 2010 season, when it was clear that we were in rebuilding mode. That’s when we could have gotten two first round draft picks for Peterson and a first rounder and change for Allen.

      And also by the way, Peterson still had the Saints’ longest run of the night and averaged more per carry than either Ingram or Kamara,

      • IrreverentOne

        It is really ridiculous how supposedly intelligent people can be so downright stupid when it comes to certain things. It is true that Peterson probably went too far with his son. It is also true that his attitude when he came back to Minnesota one was slightly off track. That doesn’t mean he is a child beater any more than these people calling him are angels. Humans make human type mistakes every day.

        • cka2nd

          “Humans make human type mistakes every day.”

          Amen.

  • roxie

    Big talk from someone who was on the sidelines most of the game. The icing on the cake was Cook breaking Petersons record…kinda bitched slapped him…lol!

    • Peter Williams

      Cook should have gone over to the Saints sideline, signed the ball,and gave it to AP as a memento after that.

      • Andre Esters

        As ultra memorable and gut-busting hilarious as that savagery would’ve been, I’m glad Cook stay poised and professional from start to finish.
        Dude made a statement to Minnesota, New Orleans, the NFL and the college ranks showing he belongs. Peterson was thankfully the least of his worries.

    • IrreverentOne

      About the same as your big talk here on a website. Guaranteed you do not have the moxie, roxie, to have done it to his face. Do you feel kinda “bitched slapped” sweetie?

      • roxie

        I absolutely would have said that to his face…..sweetie. what an asshat!

        • IrreverentOne

          Oh I’m sure you would have if only you would have had the coin to purchase a ticket. You talk a good line but that’s all it is…BIG TALK.

          • roxie

            you are SUCH a DICK…!

          • IrreverentOne

            Interesting retort. Shows your lack of intelligence. Besides, I can’t hear you when you scream on a website.

  • B. A. Barakas

    Of all the storylines to choose from in this game…this guy decides to write about something that doesn’t even pertain to the Vikings…says a lot about the character of the author…probably bummed out that AD didn’t have a huge game…

  • Troy Ricklefs

    Thanks to ESPN for showing us Peterson’s reaction to every Dalvin Cook run. I almost felt bad for AD. He deserves better… But there isn’t a place for him anywhere.

    Now lets never write another article on this site about the man until he’s ready for the Moss treatment.

  • fritzdahmus

    Adrian Peterson will eventually be in the Vikings Ring of Honor……and yes, he is past his prime.

    But, he looks like he can still play a little. That pass play intended for him in the end zone….notwithstanding. Old running backs always go out in a terrible way.

  • Andre Esters

    Honestly… I’m shocked AP didn’t even get a garbage goaline TD… then again, when I saw New Orleans motion #28 out wide while in the redzone, that instantly confirmed my fears that the team, the player, the front office, and maybe even the OC all look straight up stupid for wasting their time with AP.
    I’m immensely glad the Vikings defense did their job well, but the real task was keeping Brees in check. Thank the football gods he wasn’t allowed to dice up the secondary. Onto week 2 in Pittsburgh… *gulp*





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