When Adrian Peterson signed with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason, many people thought his NFL career was on its last leg. They figured he had more or less given up and had trouble finding either a competitor or a team willing to pay him.
Well, after a training camp which earned praise from many within the organization, Peterson made his debut in Black & Gold. While the 31-year-old may not have turned any heads Saturday against the Houston Texans, Peterson was glad to be back on the field after playing just three games in the 2016 season.
“It felt good, you know,” said Peterson. “I was looking forward to it. I haven’t played in the preseason for a long time, so it was good to get out there. I think I had maybe five or six carries, 12 or 13 plays. It felt good to move around, to get hit and kind of get those first reps out of the way.”
Peterson hasn’t played in an NFL preseason game since 2011, so the concept is a bit knew to him, but the former NFL MVP finished with six carries for 15 yards and one reception on a screen for negative one. The Saints won 13-0, not much thanks to Peterson, but it must feel nice for the running back to get back into the swing of things.
“Get the body kind of banging around a little bit, getting some good looks against a top-three defense,” said Peterson. “Unfortunately, we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish as an offense that first quarter. But playing against a defense like that, that’s one of those games you have to grind out…It would’ve been fun to play four quarters against them.”
There is a lot of disagreement over how Peterson will perform with the Saints, especially as Mark Ingram continues to establish himself as the go-to guy in the Saints backfield. New Orleans will also have rookie running back Alvin Kamara at their disposal come Week One of the regular season.
The Saints open the year against the Minnesota Vikings, so even if Peterson fizzles out in head coach Sean Payton’s system, hopefully, he’ll have an explosive opening weekend against his former team. And, hey, maybe a strong opening will be enough of a confidence boost for Peterson moving forward this season.