The Cardinals have placed veteran running back Adrian Peterson on injured reserve, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Peterson is dealing with a neck injury, but won’t require surgery, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.
Peterson hadn’t played since Week 12, and just yesterday Arizona head coach Bruce Arians indicated he “had no idea” if Peterson would play again this season. The Cardinals’ decision-makers evidently decided that running Peterson out for the final three games of the year wasn’t worth the risk, especially given that the 6-7 club has virtually no chance of earning a postseason berth in a stacked NFC.
Arizona acquired Peterson from the Saints in early October, shipping a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick in exchange for the 32-year-old back. The exact parameters of that trade have yet to be reported, so it’s unclear exactly what kind of return the Saints will get for Peterson. But clearing his salary off their books was likely incentive enough for the deal, and allowed New Orleans to move on from an unwise two-year contract.
Upon hitting the desert, Peterson was immediately more involved in the Cards’ offense that he’d ever been with the Saints, and posted 134 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in his Arizona debut. He’s been up-and-down since that point, however, and topped 80 yards just once more in his final five games of the 2017 campaign. In three of those contests, Peterson didn’t even manage two yards per carry.
Peterson is under contract in 2018 with a cost of $3.5MM attached, but it’s not readily apparent as to whether general manager Steve Keim & Co. have any intention of retaining Peterson. The Cardinals will see the return of dynamic third-year pro David Johnson in 2018, meaning Peterson would be relegated to backup duty. Arizona would clear Peterson’s entire cap charge by cutting ties.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.