MINNEAPOLIS — The loudest cheers Monday night were for a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players in Minnesota Vikings history.
If you're thinking Adrian Peterson, think again.
The biggest roar came for Randy Moss, the former Minnesota receiver who was inducted into the Vikings ring of honor during halftime of the Saints' 29-19 loss.
One day, Peterson will have his number up in the rafters of U.S. Bank Stadium beside those of Moss and Fran Tarkenton and all the other legends who wore the purple and gold.
But this night, both figuratively and literally, wasn't Peterson's. Heck, it wasn't his new team's night, either, as the Saints lost their season opener for the fourth year in a row.
The Saints kicked off the 2017 NFL season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. …
Peterson, in his first game as a Saint, finished with just 18 yards on six carries, barely adding to the 11,747 yards he racked up in his stellar 10-year run with the Vikings.
At one point in the third quarter, television cameras caught what looked to be a heated exchange between Peterson and Saints coach Sean Payton.
Peterson at first said he would keep the exchange confidential.
Was it a heated exchange? Or just the heat of battle?
He later followed up by saying "There's no conflict. Let's not try to spin it like it is. I have a lot of respect for coach Payton and his offense. He has a great mind... People jump to conclusions to what I said. I could've said 'I love you.'"
Just a guess, but I'm assuming that's not what he said.
Especially considering his six carries tied a career low for Peterson, and that includes the six-carry outing he had last year when he returned from a torn meniscus.
That performance last December ended in an embarrassing 34-6 loss to the Colts.
This one ended with an equally embarrassing loss handed to him by his old team.
Peterson's homecoming, which at the beginning of the night was THE story, was almost forgot about as the game lingered on.
It didn't start that way.
The Adrian Peterson buzz was at fever pitch before kickoff.
He was signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans in the stadium before kickoff.
His No. 28 jersey was everywhere.
The jerseys came in all colors.
The Who Dat Nation wore black and gold ones.
Vikings fans wore purple ones.
And there were even a few red and blue jerseys, representing the seven Pro Bowl jerseys that Peterson has played in during his career.
And then there were those like the one Thomas Hance wore.
His No. 28 jersey was split evenly down the middle: Saints white with black and gold number on one side; Vikings purple and gold on the other.
Not all Vikings fans were as thrilled about Peterson's homecoming.
That includes one diehard Vikings fan who shares the same last name with the NFL's Most Valuable Player from 2012.
"I think they are going to boo him, no doubt," sad Bo Peterson.
It didn't take long to find out he was right.
Peterson got the ball on the first play of the 2017 season, bulldozing his way for a 9-yard carry. The boos rang down from the stadium.
Peterson says he didn't hear them.
The loud cheers of approval came one play later when the Vikings held him to just a 1-yard gain.
He touched the ball just four more times the rest of the way, including just two carries in the second half. He played just nine snaps.
"Of course, it's tough," he admitted about his limited role "I'm the ultimate competitor."
Matt Dunn, a die-hard Vikings fan, was one of those Vikings fans outside the stadium before kickoff sporting a Peterson jersey.
Dunn is a barber in Minneapolis.
Peterson will surely be a hot topic in Dunn's barbershop Tuesday morning.
"He's one of the greatest of all time," Dunn said. "At the end of the day, I hope he has a great season. But just not tonight."
Turn out, Dunn got his wish.
Nope, not tonight.
Peterson had a word for his fans.
"I appreciate all the love they showed me from a decade-plus," he said. "God's will, they will see me again."
And most likely, it will be when he returns to have his No. 28 put him in the ring of honor.
It'll be Adrian Peterson's night when he returns.
Monday night wasn't.
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