"I think it'll be a warm welcome," Peterson told Minnesota media members on a conference call Thursday. "I don't see why it'd be any other way. Ten years played there. A lot of good memories there and being the face of the franchise for so long, giving them everything I've got. I don't think it took a rocket scientist to see when I was on the field, I was giving max effort with everything I did."
Vikings fans would be right to hail, or "Skol", their former hero, considering all he produced for the franchise. Peterson is Minnesota's franchise leader in carries (2,418), rushing yards (11,747), rushing touchdowns (97) and 100-yard games (49). He nearly broke the single-season rushing record in 2012, rushing for 2,097 yards and winning the league MVP award.
The four-time All-Pro was Minnesota's face of the franchise for a decade, and despite a disappointing, injury-riddled finish to his time there, Peterson has no regrets about his exit.
"No, I didn't leave anything on the table," Peterson continued. "I gave it my all with everything I did. Just a prime example of that is last year." The back added that he paid a heavy price in his attempt to return to the field last season following a knee injury, paying "$10,000 a week to get back out there in the hope of us making it to the playoffs."
Peterson did return for a blowout loss to the Colts in Week 14, in which he ran the ball just six times for 22 yards. That was the last time the back saw the field at U.S. Bank Stadium, at least until this Monday.
The tailback's role in New Orleans' crowded backfield isn't clear; Mark Ingram ran for over 1,000 yards last year, rookie Alvin Kamara demands targets out of the backfield and Drew Brees is still piloting a pass-first attack. Divvying up carries will be a difficult task for Sean Payton and his staff to tackle all season.
But if there are some opening night growing pains for Peterson, at least he can take comfort in playing in a locale he knows well and in front of a fan base that is expected to laud his every move.