Adrian Peterson says he has no ill will toward the New Orleans Saints despite a contentious end to their time together. The Washington Redskins running back signed a two-year deal with the Saints in May 2017 to join an organization besides the Minnesota Vikings, the team that drafted him in 2007, for the first time during his career. He ended up playing just four games and posting a 3.0 yards-per-carry average before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional sixth-round pick.
Peterson said Monday that there’s no bad blood between him and the Saints or their head coach, Sean Payton, and that he’s eager to reconnect with friends on the team.
“I don’t have any enemies down there,” Peterson said. “It was a wonderful city. They treated me well. I will be back for some beignets when I get down there. But it’ll be good to see some of the guys that I went through training camp with through that whole grind process. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
“I still sit back and not understand what kind of went wrong, but at the end of the day, that has led me here to another opportunity. . . . I made some friends that I’ll have for a lifetime while I was there.”
The Saints experience led many NFL evaluators to assume the 33-year-old running back had lost the burst and unique skill-set that earned him seven Pro Bowls, four first-team all-pro selections and the 2012 NFL MVP award. He’s proven otherwise in Washington, where he ranks No. 10 in the NFL with 236 rushing yards. Peterson’s three rushing touchdowns are tied for the fifth-most in the league and the Redskins are one of two teams that have had a bye already — the Chiefs and Broncos play their fourth game on “Monday Night Football.”
Peterson’s exit from New Orleans was partially due to the growth of then-rookie Alvin Kamara, who had 1,554 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017. He and Mark Ingram pushed the Saints to the No. 5 rushing team in the league and made Peterson expendable. Kamara ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants on Sunday and had 15 receptions for 124 yards against the Falcons in Week 3. Peterson could see the potential last season.
“Yeah, I know talent when I see it,” Peterson said. “ . . . Just being around him and learning his personality and seeing his work ethic. That, with the talent he was able to present in OTAs and training camp, and being a rookie as well, it was a no-brainer that he was going to be there for a long time.
“His toughness. He kind of fits Payton’s ideal offense, as far as that Reggie Bush-type running back. But he’s actually a physical back, as well. He’ll run between the tackles and he’s physical.”
Players often downplay how much knowledge of a previous team will have an impact in an upcoming game, but the league’s No. 10 all-time rusher does have some insight he believes can help.
“I know these guys’ personality offensively,” Peterson said. “ . . . I’ve been talking to the guys, giving them a mind-set of the guy that they’re going to be facing. I think that in itself will be helpful.”
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