Adrian Peterson was one of the most talked-about names in free agency this past offseason. He was at one point the most dominant running back in the NFL, but injuries derailed his career with the Minnesota Vikings. After waiting most of the offseason for offers, Peterson decided to sign a deal with the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans has always been a pass-first offense with Drew Brees leading the way. That was never going to change, but could anyone have expected what happened in the Saints’ season opener against the Minnesota Vikings? Peterson only carried the football just six times for 18 yards.
Head coach Sean Payton used two other running backs much more than Peterson. Rookie Alvin Kamara had seven carries for 18 yards, but he also hauled in four passes. Mark Ingram received a steady workload as well, picking up 17 yards on six carries while catching five passes for 54 yards.
There was a video clip caught of what appeared to be Peterson and Payton jawing at each other. One can only assume that Peterson was unhappy with his usage. Both Peterson and Payton were asked about the potential altercation following the game.
“Listen, I’ll tell you if we were in a heated exchange,” Payton said. “None that I can recall, and I am being honest.”
“There’s no conflict,” Peterson said. “Let’s not try to spin it like there is.”
While both parties took the high road, there was obvious frustration on Peterson’s face and in his demeanor throughout the game. Could the former superstar running back decide to request a trade to a better situation should things with the Saints not change more to his liking in the next few weeks?
Needless to say, there could be a very good market for a running back with the skill that Peterson possesses. Plenty of teams around the league would be willing to pay a late-round pick for him. A lot of those teams could offer him a much larger workload than six carries in an entire game.
At 32 years of age, Peterson is in the final stages of his career. He took a two-year deal with the Saints in order to try to prove himself. Peterson has made it clear that he firmly believes he has another couple years of playing at a high level following 2018 for one last contract.
It may be too early to begin talking about a potential Peterson trade, but the two sides did not seem to fit well in Week 1. Either the Saints will need to incorporate him more into the game plan or Peterson could end up seeking a way out of New Orleans. One way or the other, this situation is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Expect to see a lot of scrutiny from the media in Week 2 for the Saints as they face off against the New England Patriots. Peterson may not be a superstar anymore, but perhaps New Orleans should consider giving him a larger role in the offense if they want him to stick around.
Do you think the New Orleans Saints will end up trading Adrian Peterson? Will the two sides figure things out, and can Peterson become a key part of the Saints’ offense? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Ron Schwane/AP Images]