NEW ORLEANS Adrian Peterson has a huge chip on his broad shoulders and it could serve the New Orleans Saints well, beginning in Week 1 against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.
“Of course, I want to stick it to them,’’ the player affectionately known as “All Day’’ recently told the Minneapolis StarTribune. “I want to stick it to everyone we play. But going back to Minnesota, playing the Vikings. Yeah, I want to stick it to them.’’
Obviously, Monday night’s game (6:10 p.m., ESPN) at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is personal but it goes much deeper than merely an aging superstar spurned.
Peterson spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the Vikings after becoming the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft. In the ensuing decade, he accounted for 13,692 yards from scrimmage, including 11,747 on the ground, and scored 102 touchdowns.
When the times comes, he will take his rightful spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he’s not ready to call it a career just yet.
He has revenge on his mind.
When Vikings officials declined to exercise their $18 million option in February, Peterson shopped his services around the NFL and eventually landed in the Big Easy where he signed a two-year, $$7 million contract in late April.
Yes, the Vikings’ made a calculated business decision, determining Peterson had become a financial risk after missing the bulk of the 2016 season with a surgically-repaired right knee. Truth be told, relations between the parties had soured long before the dollars and sense issue stemming in part from a domestic incident involving the player.
In September 2014, Peterson was indicted on felony child abuse charges after being accused of disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch. After being deactivated against New England in Week 2, team officials reinstated him to play against the Saints in Week 3 only to place him on the NFL Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list with pay several days later.
In November 2014 Peterson pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of reckless assault with plans to rejoin the team for the stretch run. But the NFL suspended him without pay for the rest of the ’14 season. In February 2015, Peterson was reinstated after a U.S. District Court ruled in the player’s behalf on a suit filed by the NFL Players Association against the NFL.
He responded with a vengeance in 2015, eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the seventh time in his storied career, only to have his 2016 season cut short by injury.
Let the ’16 record show, Peterson rushed 37 times for 72 yards and no touchdowns in three forgettable games. On his last carry as a Viking in Game 15 against Indianapolis, Peterson picked up 4 yards.
Now healthy, the 32-year-old Peterson hopes to prove his old team wrong, meaning he’d like nothing better than to extract a pound of Vikings’ flesh.
And then some.
Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium; Minneapolis, Minn.
When: Monday, 6:10 p.m.
Radio: WWL 870 AM, 105.3 FM