Adrian Peterson doesn’t sound like a guy who’s over Monday Night. The 32-year-old back, who returned to Minnesota expecting a heroes welcome and then to wreak havoc on his old team, instead barely got out the sideline, just standing there for all but 9 snaps in the Vikings’ 29-19 demolition of the Saints.
And while did his best to spin things — to tell everybody who’d listen that the death stare he shot new coach Sean Payton was just him being a competitor, that he thought those memes were really funny on Twitter, and that all he said on the sidelines to Payton was that they needed to “run the ball up their Donkey,” AP finally came correct yesterday saying, “I didn’t sign up for nine snaps.”
“I didn’t sign up for nine snaps.” That’s where we’re at. After 1 game. After 1 loss. Now technically the sentence continued. Technically AP said it with a smile on his face, acknowledging the game played out differently than anybody expected, with the Saints falling behind early. And that he knew SOME adjustments needed to be made as the coaching staff finds the right rotation for the three-man backfield he shares with rookie Alvin Kamara and last year’s starter Mark Ingram. But I legitimately think that AP thinks that the adjustments need to come from the coaching staff.
Good luck with that, my man. Because the one who needs to do the adjusting is Peterson, who is going to get another dose of reality when the Saints find themselves in a shootout this weekend with the Patriots and need a back on the field who can catch. Or pass block. Neither of which are things that Peterson can do, a decade into his NFL career.
Because at 32, Peterson’s not a feature back anymore. He’s not worth high volume carries. And even if he was, he’s on a team where no back ever gets featured, Payton always a mix-and-match backfield guy, back to the days of Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Darren Sproles.
And as we watched teams pick up back after back after back this offseason, while AP sat on the shelf waiting for a team to offer him the contract and playing time he thought he deserved, the guy who claimed signing with New Orleans “just felt right within my spirit” probably should’ve thrown on some game tape before looking inward. Because this really never was a good fit.
So as much as the Saints have to worry about falling to 0-2 after a date with a New England team that’s also 0-1, they need to consider if Peterson is worth the distraction. Because AP hasn’t really been AP for a while. He’s made it through exactly 1 full season since 2012, the year he ran for almost 2,100 yards and finished second in the league in rushing attempts. And after seeing Payton already hand the goal line carries to Kamara in Minnesota as both Ingram and Kamara contributed in the passing game, what’s the point of Peterson?
Because this has the chance to go sideways in a hurry — if it hasn’t already. And while it’s still too soon to call this a disaster, the guy who “didn’t sign up for nine snaps” better realize something. Third stringers get Nine Snaps. And that essentially what AP is these days.