The New England Patriots expressed interest in Adrian Peterson this past offseason, head coach Bill Belichick confirmed during a conference call Tuesday morning.
Belichick said the Patriots brought Peterson, a seven-time Pro Bowler and 2012 NFL MVP, in for a workout in April before the veteran running back ultimately signed with the New Orleans Saints.
“We brought him in here this spring,” said Belichick, whose team will visit the Saints this Sunday. “I’ve had some interaction with him. I have a lot of respect for him. I have a lot of respect for the way he plays. I have a lot of respect for how hard he works and how important the game is to him. Those things I admire about Adrian.”
Peterson struggled Monday night in his Saints debut, carrying the ball six times for just 18 yards in a 29-19 loss to his former team, the Minnesota Vikings. ESPN cameras also captured the 32-year-old shouting at head coach Sean Payton on the sideline during the game, which Peterson downplayed afterward.
New Orleans’ rushing attack as a whole was unproductive against Minnesota’s vaunted defense, with Peterson, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara combining for just 53 yards on 19 carries.
New England hopes for similar defensive success after Kansas City Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt torched the Patriots’ defense last Thursday for 148 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
“They’re all dangerous, but they all have their different skill sets,” Belichick said of the Saints’ three-pronged rushing attack. “You see Kamara out of the backfield more than Peterson, for example. They’re all productive, and I’m sure that New Orleans will do a good job of trying to get those guys opportunities in the things that they are good at, things that they do well.
“They’re all hard to tackle. Peterson and Ingram have a lot of power, really good balance, good lower body strength. Kamara’s got that — maybe not quite as much, but very elusive. No question — we’re going to have to be alert for all of them and do a good job of handling each guy.”
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images
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