During his 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson often ribbed the team’s defenders, who were not allowed to tackle him in practice, and taunt them about what he could do against them in a real game.
Now that Peterson is with the New Orleans Saints, he’ll finally have the opportunity to back up his boasts.
In an interview with the Saints’ website on Wednesday, Peterson joked his return trip to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 11 will be “revenge,” then said he’s looking forward to showing the Vikings’ defensive players what he can do against them.
“It’s going to be fun to go against those guys so I can let them know [when] I was doing that talking, telling them, ‘Hey, I’ll hit you guys for 150 or 200 yards,’ that I wasn’t just talking,” he said. “They’ll see.”
Peterson, who signed a two-year deal with the Saints on April 25, will play his first regular-season game for a team other than the Vikings on Sept. 11, when New Orleans opens the season in Minnesota on Monday Night Football. The schedule was released five days before the running back signed with the Saints, but as Peterson went through his final negotiations with New Orleans, he took the Week 1 trip to Minnesota as a sign of kismet.
“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “You know, it’s just ironic. When the schedule came out and I saw that, I was like, ‘Wow, this is meant to be.’ So many great memories down there in Minnesota. Great fan base. They supported me through everything, throughout my career, so just to embrace the love once I get there will be exciting.”
The 32-year-old running back figures to split carries with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, and he typically hasn’t been the fastest starter in the league; he hasn’t rushed for more than 90 yards in Week 1 since 2013 and hasn’t surpassed 100 yards in a regular-season opener since 2009. When Peterson returned from his 2014 suspension in Week 1 of the 2015 season on Monday Night Football, he admitted to being too excited and ran for just 31 yards on 10 carries as the Vikings rolled out their ill-fated experiment with the running back in the shotgun.
If he can keep his excitement in check come September, however, he could get some Week 1 opportunities against a Vikings run defense that has been the weak link of an otherwise stout unit in recent years; the Vikings were 20th in the league against the run last year, and they haven’t ranked in the top half of the league in the category during any of Mike Zimmer’s three years as head coach.