(Reuters) – Adrian Peterson dismissed suggestions of a heated exchange with New Orleans coach Sean Payton after his disappointing return to Minnesota on Monday.
Peterson made his debut for the Saints against his longtime Vikings team and it was hardly the night he had envisioned as New Orleans lost 29-19. Peterson got the first two carries of the game and picked up a first down, but finished with just six carries for 18 yards in a timeshare with running backs Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara.
Toward the end of the first half, Peterson was caught on camera saying something to Payton which caused many to speculate that he was upset with his new coach. “Just communicating with him,” Peterson told reporters. “There’s no conflict. I’ve got a lot of respect for coach Payton and his offense and he’s a great mind.”
Payton also attempted to debunk the theory of a rift between the two.
“We weren’t in any heated exchange. He was into it, we were all into it. There was (no issue) that I can recall, and I’m being honest,” Payton said.
Conflict or not, Peterson is likely in for big adjustment with New Orleans. The Vikings’ career rushing leader with 11,747 yards, Peterson will now share much of the running load with Ingram and possibly Kamara.
“We’re going to pay attention to what we want to do each week and try to have a good balance between (the running backs),” Payton said.
“I think we’ll be able to.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)