Adrian Peterson’s return to Minnesota as a member of the New Orleans Saints was about the least important aspect of the story at the end of the Vikings’ 29-19 victory on Monday night.
Peterson, let go after by the Vikings after a stellar career, rushed for 18 yards on six carries in a game that got away from the Saints early. His replacement in purple, second-round draft pick Dalvin Cook, rolled for 127 on 22 carries.
“I expect him only to get better,” Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford said of his new weapon, who inexplicably lasted until the 41st pick of the NFL draft.
One game will not be the judgment on whether Peterson, 32, has anything left, but he was clearly unhappy on the sidelines late in the first half with his lack of carries.
The Saints, who’ve made an unfortunate tradition of slow starts in recent years, clearly are off to another one. And they’re next game is against the New England Patriots, who lost their opener and are generally unlikely to lose twice in a row.
The other key element for the Vikings was the comfort of Bradford. Acquired late last year after Teddy Bridgewater’s disastrous knee injury, he had a short period of time to learn the offense and went through a rough adjustment. On Monday night he completed 27 of 32 attempts for 346 yards and three touchdowns, two to Stefon Diggs.
Peterson will get another chance to two to demonstrate there’s life in the old legs and the Saints can try to show they’re something more than a team that has come home 7-9 three years in a row.