When the NFL released its 2017 regular-season schedule, the Monday night opener didn’t have much steak, or much sizzle. It now has both.
The ho-hum matchup of the 7-9 Saints and 8-8 Vikings took on a new dynamic when Adrian Peterson surprisingly opted to accept a reduced salary and a reduced role in New Orleans. He’s now eyeballing an expanded performance when he returns to U.S. Bank Stadium in September.
“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,” Peterson told the Saints’ official website, via ESPN.com. “They’ll see.”
The threshold question is how much anyone will see Peterson on the field during that game. Mark Ingram is the starter; while Peterson perhaps quietly adds “for now” to that title, it’s not his call as to which guy sits atop the depth chart. Peterson also could be pinched from below by rookie third-rounder Alvin Kamara.
For now, Peterson isn’t focused on those details. He’s simply focused on Week One.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Peterson said, joking that “revenge” is part of his motivation. “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.”
It won’t be exciting if he’s standing on the sidelines more than he’s lining up behind Drew Brees. And if Peterson emerges from that game miffed that he didn’t get enough chances to show the world what he could do against his former team, he may not feel like his marriage with the Saints was meant to be, after all.