LONDON -- Winning has helped wash the taste down a little. But it hasn't led to any more carries for Adrian Peterson, who admitted Sunday that it has been "rough" for him to handle his ever-shrinking role in the New Orleans Saints' backfield.
"I haven't adjusted yet, but we're winning," said Peterson, who has only 81 yards on 27 carries through four games this year and two catches for 4 yards, without a touchdown.
"The win makes it OK. But of course, being the type of player that I am, knowing I have so much left in the tank, it's rough," Peterson said. "So at the end of the day, I know that things will work out in some type of way. I don't know how things will unfold. But things will get figured out."
Peterson, 32, again insisted that his infamous sideline glare toward Sean Payton that was captured during Monday Night Football in Week 1 -- and the highly publicized quote that he "didn't sign up for nine snaps" -- were blown out of proportion. He hasn't been an angry malcontent in his new locker room.
But at the same time, Peterson didn't hesitate to admit that anger is part of his emotion during this trying season.
"Of course, anger has always been a part of it. When you're a competitor like I am, you're angry when you're not in there. But you're happy for the guys that are in there when they're being successful and able to accomplish good things," said Peterson, who ran for 11,747 yards and scored 102 touchdowns in his first 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings.
"It's the system that they're used to," Peterson added. "I just do my part, talking to Mark [Ingram] and AK [Alvin Kamara] when I see things they might have missed. I'm just trying to be that leader as of now."
The Saints have always been a pass-first team under Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. But an even bigger reason for Peterson's lack of involvement is that they have other options they've preferred so far in their crowded backfield.
Ingram, 27, has established himself as an every-down back in recent years because of his abilities as a runner, receiver and pass-protector. He leads New Orleans' running backs in touches by a wide margin this year, with 42 rushes for 170 yards and 15 receptions for 125 yards, though he hasn't scored a touchdown yet.
Meanwhile, the rookie Kamara's role continues to grow each week because of his dynamic playmaking ability. Kamara caught 10 passes on 10 targets Sunday for a total of 71 yards -- including a 12-yard touchdown catch that helped seal the victory in the fourth quarter. He also ran the ball five times for 25 yards.
Kamara and Peterson have different skill sets, since Kamara is used so heavily in the passing game. But the Saints' desire to get snaps and touches for both Ingram and Kamara doesn't leave much opportunity for Peterson, who is used almost exclusively as a base-down runner.