Adrian Peterson has an announcement to make: He can, in fact, catch a football.
Upon joining the New Orleans Saints, much of the discussion surrounding Peterson has been about how he fits in Sean Payton’s passing game out of the backfield. All Day scoffed at the notion that he can’t catch a football.
“It’s always funny to me. … It’s like a lot of people say, ‘Well, he can’t catch the ball.’ And I’m like, ‘I’ve been playing ball since I was 7 years old, I can catch a football,'” Peterson said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “I don’t let it frustrate me too much. But I’d be lying to ya to say it’s not nerve-wracking to hear people say, ‘He can’t catch the ball. What is he gonna do in this offense because they pass so much?'”
For his 10-year career, Peterson has compiled 241 receptions for 1,945 yards and five touchdowns. In 123 games played that comes out to an average of 1.95 receptions per game, and 15.81 yards per contest.
Peterson doesn’t expect to be compared to Marshall Faulk, Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson, but he wants everyone to know the men throwing him the ball had a lot to do with his success or failures in the passing game during his 10 years with Minnesota.
“A lot of quarterbacks, when they go through their progression, they’re stuck on one side,” Peterson said. “They’re not seeing the backside checkdown or me leaking out in the flat or a back leaking out in the flat. You’ve got guys like [Brett] Favre and Drew Brees who are Hall of Famers, they’re Hall of Famers for a reason. Not only can they throw the ball, but they have other qualities that make them top-tier quarterbacks. … You’ve got a guy who knows what’s going on, he knows every guy’s position and where they’re supposed to be.”
Peterson enjoyed his two best receiving seasons when Favre was his quarterback (436 yards in 2009 and 341 in 2010), which certainly works to the running back’s point.
Perhaps Peterson might see a few more passes his way on checkdowns with Brees throwing the ball, but that won’t be his main gig. The Saints drafted Alvin Kamara to play the Reggie Bush role and have Mark Ingram, who is also a better pass-catcher than Peterson. Sean Payton is a master at getting a player the ball where he excels. For All Day, that will be pounding the rock between the tackles in 2017.