ASHBURN — Redskins running back Adrian Peterson’s short tenure last season with the New Orleans Saints didn’t go exactly as planned.
After signing a two-year deal in the 2017 offseason, the veteran running back played less than 25 percent of the snaps in each of his four games and was even seen barking at coach Sean Payton on the sideline. The Saints then dealt Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals in October.
But despite the experiment not working, Peterson said Monday he doesn’t hold a grudge against his former team as the Redskins prepare for next week’s matchup with the Saints on “Monday Night Football.”
“I still sit back and not understand what went wrong, but at the end of day, that has led me here for another opportunity,” Peterson said. “I made some friends for a lifetime while I was there.”
With the Redskins, Peterson has revived his career. The 33-year-old, who went unsigned until August, was fifth in rushing yards before Washington’s Week 4 bye with 236. He has also averaged 4.2 yards per carry, scored three touchdowns and is an important piece to the Redskins’ offense.
Peterson’s success, however, has come as a surprise — especially after a down 2017. The 2012 MVP had just 81 yards on 27 carries with the Saints in four games, and Peterson averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in six games with the Cardinals.
In New Orleans, Peterson was buried behind Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, who emerged together as the best 1-2 punch in the NFL. Kamara, in particular, was explosive — averaging 6.1 yards per carry en route to earning the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award — and needed playing time.
In Arizona, Peterson showed flashes — rushing for more than 100 yards in two separate games — but the consistency wasn’t there. His season ended in November when he suffered a neck injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Peterson’s rocky year — plus further concerns about his age and injury history — resulted in a team not offering a tryout until the Redskins called in August.
Still, Peterson said he didn’t make “any enemies down there” during his time with the Saints.
“It was a wonderful city,” Peterson said. “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.”