Adrian Peterson: 'I didn't sign up for nine snaps' in Saints debut
To say that Adrian Peterson's return to Minnesota on Monday did not go as planned would be an understatement. The running back, who spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Vikings before joining the Saints in the offseason, was on the field for just nine snaps in a 29-19 loss.
At least Peterson was kept busy during his brief periods of play, carrying the ball six times and having a pass thrown his way near the goal line. Still, the 32-year-old, likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer, emerged with a paltry 18 total yards, plus one seemingly tense moment with Coach Sean Payton on the sideline that was replayed on the telecast.
After the game, Peterson and Payton downplayed that moment, and the latter did so again Thursday. However, Peterson also made it clear that he had hoped for more of a workload and that he still considers himself a game-breaking talent.
"I didn't sign up for nine snaps, though. But unfortunately that's the way the game played out," Peterson said Thursday, according to ESPN. "In my mind, personally, I knew it was going to take some adjusting."
Peterson mentioned that he and the Saints' other two running backs, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, had not been active at the same time in preseason games. "So with all three of us being out there [Monday], I knew it would take a game or so to kind of get adjusted," he said. "So we'll see how things [go] this week."
Kamara (31 snaps) and Ingram (26) received far more playing time than Peterson, although that could be partly explained by the fact that New Orleans trailed for most of the game and thus was in a pass-first mode that didn't fully suit Peterson's skill set. Of course, Payton's Saints have long preferred to throw the ball, and they are not expected to win more than about half of their games, so there could be many occasions this season when Peterson is forced to watch from the sideline.
As for the suggestion that getting him the number of carries he needs to find a successful rhythm could be a luxury New Orleans likely can't afford, Peterson bristled at the notion. "I can get it started at any point in the game," he said, noting that he ran for nine yards on the first play of Monday's game.
"I can take it the distance on the first play; I've done that in the past before," added Peterson, who signed a two-year, $7 million contract in April. "Just whenever it's in my hands, I know that's an opportunity to take it to the house."
Peterson's next opportunity to make an impact will come Sunday at his new home stadium, New Orleans's Superdome, against a New England Patriots defense that was trampled last week by Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. In the meantime, Peterson said he "got some laughs out of some of the memes that were made" of his incident with Payton, even if it was "definitely overdramatized."