Adrian Peterson says he’s healthy, but the New Orleans Saints should look elsewhere for a running back.
For a few years now, Adrian Peterson has been operating in a diminished state. There’s no greater evidence of that than his stint with the New Orleans Saints last year, with 27 carries for 81 yards in four games, and after he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals the resulting emergence of Alvin Kamara showed it even more.
Peterson’s 2017 season ended early due to a neck injury, which could cause a guy to evaluate his future as a football player. But not Peterson, who says he’s been cleared by three doctors and is ready to go for any team that wants to sign him.
The Saints have lost running back Mark Ingram to a four-game suspension to start the season. But they have come out saying they are hesitant to dramatically increase Kamara’s workload during that time, and early indications were they would not sign a veteran back.
Saints’ head coach Sean Payton backtracked a little on the latter point last week, suggesting he’d consider bringing Peterson back when asked about the possibility. And for what it’s worth, the interest seems to be mutual.
The “different look” Peterson is referencing is a direct reference to Ingram’s looming four-game absence. There would be one less proven back to compete with for touches during that first month of the season. But if Peterson took a rightful substantial backseat to Kamara, he has proven he can’t stop himself from letting a complaint out publicly.
The group filling out the running back depth chart for New Orleans right now-Trey Edmunds, Daniel Lasco, Jonathan Williams and Boston Scott-have a combined total of 47 regular season NFL carries. But for four weeks that combination, perhaps with some shuffling between the practice squad and the active roster, could provide the necessary relief for Kamara.
Based on the way things went early last year, Peterson should not really want to return to the Saints. But he has no other known, even casually mentioned options right now, so his openness to going back is not too surprising on the heels of Payton’s words. But if the Saints do change course and look to add a running back before Week 1, there are better options out there.