When ESPN opens Monday Night Football in 2017, all cameras will be pointed at Adrian Peterson.
In what turned out to be a fortuitous foresight, schedule makers plopped the New Orleans Saints into the MNF slot visiting Minnesota. After a decade of the face of the Vikings franchise, Peterson was cut this offseason and signed with the Saints. He'll return home on September 11.
During an interview with the Saints' official team website, Peterson joked about it being a "revenge" game (his chuckling at the comment brushes away the thought he holds animosity close to the surface of his subconscious).
"It's going to be exciting,'' Peterson said of his return to U.S. Bank Stadium. "You know, it's just ironic. When the schedule came out and I saw that, I was like, 'Wow, this is pretty much meant to be.' So many great memories down there in Minnesota. Great fan base. They supported me through everything, throughout my career, so just to embrace the love once I get there will be exciting."
Peterson compiled 11,747 yards and 97 rushing scores wearing Vikings' purple. Most defenders in Minnesota never got to hit Peterson, even though sides often joked about who would have the upper hand in such a situation.
Now the 32-year-old Peterson will have his chance to plow over ex-teammates.
"I'm looking forward to that," he said. "I'm looking forward to going against my defensive guys that I've been practicing against for so long. Hearing them yak about 'you couldn't do this against me, against us'...
"It's going to be fun to go against those guys so I can let them know when I was doing that talking, telling them, 'Hey, I'll hit you guys for 150 or 200 yards,' that I wasn't just talking. They'll see."
While Peterson might not be outwardly perturbed that the Vikings parted ways with him after 10 years, there will clearly be a chip on his shoulder after being heavily questioned this offseason. He joins a deep Saints backfield, but no one should be surprised if Peterson carries the load for a big day against his former team to open the season.