Trailing on the scoreboard and not having much luck in the run game in his Minnesota return, former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson appeared to have a less-than-friendly exchange with head coach Sean Payton in the second quarter, which was captured by ESPN’s cameras.
Adrian Peterson is handling this well. pic.twitter.com/bn6KCwhnjp
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 12, 2017
After struggling in his two appearances at U.S. Bank Stadium with the Vikings last season, Peterson again failed to find a rhythm in his first attempt at rebooting his career in the Big Easy. After starting the game with a bruising nine-yard run, Peterson ended up with just 18 yards on six rush attempts.
The longtime Vikings star denied any rift with Payton.
“There’s no conflict,” said Peterson. “Let’s not try and spin it. There’s no conflict. I have a lot of respect for Coach Payton and his offense.”
Payton also denied that there was any sort of heated exchange.
During his tenure in Minnesota, Peterson often voiced his displeasure with light workloads, and he was seldom utilized Monday night after getting the game’s first two touches. Six carries matched his career low.
“Of course it’s tough,” admitted Peterson. “I’m an ultimate competitor. It’s tough. I knew the type of situation I was coming into.”
In fairness, none of the Saints ball carriers played well. Veteran Mark Ingram got six carries for 17 yards, and rookie Alvin Kamara had seven rushes for 18 yards. New Orleans averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on the night, and their inability to run the ball cost them in red zone as they failed to score a touchdown in three goal-to-go situations.
As for Peterson’s exchange with Payton, it’s safe to say both had reason to be frustrated, and we may never know exactly what was uttered.
“I could have said, ‘I love you,'” said Peterson. “There’s no issue. We have bigger fish to fry.”