The New Orleans Saints-Minnesota Vikings opener on “Monday Night Football” looked like a curious scheduling choice, then it looked brilliant when Adrian Peterson signed with the Saints (conspiracy theorists unite!).
Peterson took note of the Week 1 opponent when he signed with the Saints, his second NFL team after 10 Hall-of-Fame seasons with the Vikings.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Peterson said in an interview with the Saints’ website. “It’s just ironic, when the schedule came out and I seen it, it was like, ‘Wow, it’s meant to be.’”
Then Peterson told a story about how he and the Vikings defensive players would get competitive in practice. The defensive players would tell Peterson he wouldn’t put up big numbers against them, and Peterson would give it right back. He’ll get his chance to prove it in Week 1.
“It’s going to be fun to go against those guys so I can let them know when was doing that talking, telling them, ‘Hey, I’ll hit you guys for 150 or 200 yards,’ that I wasn’t just talking,” Peterson said in a joking manner. “They’ll see.”
Peterson’s first Saints game should be interesting.
The biggest question surrounding Peterson is what kind of role he’ll have with the Saints. New Orleans already had Mark Ingram, who has averaged about 200 carries per season the last three years. He’s not going away. But Peterson, the 2015 NFL rushing champion, didn’t sign with New Orleans to be Ingram’s strict backup. It’s hard to imagine Peterson being happy even in a 50-50 timeshare, considering his resume. It’s not like the Saints paid him $3.5 million guaranteed for this season to spell Ingram here and there, either.
“When you want to be the greatest to ever do it, you can’t picture yourself being behind someone else,” Peterson told the Saints’ site. “That’s not a knock on anyone in our running back room. I would tell them that they need to think the same. If you’re not, you’re cheating yourself.”
So whether Peterson has the chance to show his old Vikings teammates he can go for “150 or 200” against them probably depends on how many carries the Saints give him. We’ll be tuning in Week 1 to find out.
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