Adrian Peterson is probably headed to the NFL Hall of Fame after retiring from the league. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed any playing time right now.
In a Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson watched a heavy majority of the game from the sideline. He only logged nine snaps, according to a chart posted by John Paulsen of 4for4 Football.
Comparatively, rookie Alvin Kamara led the Saints with 31 snaps, while returning starter Mark Ingram appeared in 26 plays. Fullback John Kuhn added nine snaps, although he shouldn’t be expected to steal playing time and more than a carry or two from the triumvirate.
Peterson looks like the odd man out in this situation.
The 32-year-old running back mustered 18 yards on six carries during the 29-19 loss. Cameras showed him saying something to head coach Sean Payton — who didn’t seem pleased with the exchange — which sparked a widespread belief Peterson was unhappy with his playing time.
Maybe that’s the case. Maybe it wasn’t. After the game, Peterson said “there’s no conflict” with Payton, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com.
The running back wouldn’t share what he said, but it doesn’t really matter. It seems clear New Orleans is more willing to give the youthful, explosive Kamara an immediate chance to secure a considerable share of snaps rather than give Peterson a consistent workload.
Granted, the score didn’t work in Peterson’s favor. The Saints trailed for most of the night, as well as the entire second half. Given the situation, Kamara and Ingram were better fits.
Unfortunately for Peterson, however, that situation is all too familiar for New Orleans, which hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2013. The offensive line is still a mess, so the running game probably won’t be a focal point of the scoring attack. And that means less playing time for Peterson.
He might need to get accustomed to watching from the sideline.