Reimer: Adrian Peterson's downfall is glorious to watch

Alex Reimer
September 12, 2017 - 11:37 am

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Saints running back Adrian Peterson was humiliated in his old stomping grounds Monday, only carrying the ball six times for 18 yards against his former team, the Vikings. His most notable moment in defeat came on the sidelines, when he was videotaped screaming at head coach Sean Payton.

May Peterson’s season only go further downhill from here. 

Peterson is one of the most loathsome athletes out there. It’s apparent he feels little remorse about whipping his then-four-year-old child in the groin with a tree branch –– otherwise known as a “switch” –– and stuffing his mouth with leaves while the beating occurred. Months after Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges, the ex-star running back threw himself an extravagant 30th birthday party, in which he arrived on a camel's back

Publicly, Peterson, 32, expressed some remorse upon returning to the Vikings in 2015, saying he “loves” his kids and vowing to change his brutal disciplinary habits. But privately, his behavior suggests otherwise. ESPN The Magazine’s Eli Saslow wrote a lengthy profile on Peterson in June 2015, chronicling his “suspended reality.” In it, Saslow says Peterson only surrounds himself with sycophants who paint him as the victim of a media conspiracy. 

“(Peterson) spends the bulk of his time with friends who believe he has done nothing wrong. He asks relatives not to talk about the allegation of child abuse, not the use that word — ‘abuse’ — in his presence,” Saslow writes. “Inside his manufactured community, he remains the victim of a colossal misunderstanding, an icon with little to prove and nothing to redeem.’’

Before returning to the Vikings in 2015, Peterson had the hubris to complain about his contract. He said he wanted a long-term commitment from the team, even though he missed most of the previous season. Minnesota eventually caved to Peterson’s demands, restructuring his deal to the tune of $44 million over three years. 

Washed-up and injury-prone –– Peterson only played in three games last season –– the one-time MVP inked a two-year, $7 million deal with the Saints this offseason. The Patriots brought him in for a workout, but reportedly didn’t offer him a contract. (Apparently, though, Bill Belichick thinks highly of Peterson. On Tuesday, he told reporters the team has “a lot of respect” for the way Peterson plays.) 

With Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both in the Saints backfield, it’s unlikely Peterson will be a featured back this season. When he did take the field Monday, he was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. It was a lovely sight to watch. 

Late in the first half, cameras caught Peterson yelling in Payton’s direction. Peterson denied he admonished his coach for the lack of touches, instead saying he was encouraging Payton to run the ball more. 

“Let's be clear...I said we need to run the ball up their Donkey. Nothing more. I'm passionate but respect my coach at the same time,” Peterson tweeted at the “SportsCenter” account in response.

So that’s what Peterson’s life has become. Once an MVP, he’s now trying to correct ESPN social media employees on Twitter over sideline exchanges. It’s good to see him meet his end, even if it’s come a couple of years late. 

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