Adrian Peterson

NFC Notes: Peterson, Vikings, Kuechly

Bruce Arians came up with the idea for the Cardinals to acquire Adrian Peterson, doing so after his team’s blowout loss to the Eagles. Arians was driving to the team facility when the concept emerged, Lars Anderson of Bleacher Report notes. The Cardinals coach watched every Peterson carry with the Saints to make sure the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer still had enough to be a solution for an Arizona rushing attack that still ranks last in the league because of its anemic start. Arians then took the idea to Steve Keim, who called Saints GM Mickey Loomis, Anderson reports.

He ran hard and could get something out of nothing,” Arians said. “We had finesse backs on our team. I was looking for that power guy. He was it, brother, he was it.”

Immediately installed as Arizona’s starter, Peterson turned back the clock and rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his Cardinals debut. The former five-time All-Pro said previously he wants to play into his late 30s, but that dialogue stopped in New Orleans. But Peterson has resumed that talking point now as a Cardinal, eyeing “four or five” more seasons.

I felt like my ability was going to waste in New Orleans,” Peterson said, via Anderson. “The system just wasn’t a good fit for me. But I still want to play four or five more years. I still can run a high-4.3 40. And I’ve always loved getting the ball deep in the backfield, which is what we’re doing here. I feel like I’m built for this offense.”

Here’s the latest from the NFC, shifting to Peterson’s first two NFL employers.

  • The Vikings are starting Case Keenum again this week, the team announced. Mike Zimmer, though, said he believes Sam Bradford will play again this season, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This will be Keenum’s fifth start of the year. Bradford’s status has gone from somewhat surprising inactive in Week 2 to being potentially out for six weeks to having the knee be categorized as worse than what’s been reported. Bradford consulted with a specialist last week, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com notes. The eighth-year quarterback saw this same specialist previously, per Zimmer. Teddy Bridgewater returned to practice but likely remains far away from playing in a game.
  • Luke Kuechly will miss the Panthers‘ Week 7 tilt against the Bears after suffering a concussion in Week 6. David Mayo will replace Kuechly at middle linebacker, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk notes. Kuechly has missed time because of concussions in each of the past two seasons but was progressing in the protocol earlier this week.
  • Minnesota will also be without Stefon Diggs this weekend, with the Vikes’ No. 1 wide receiver set to miss a second straight game because of a groin injury.
  • Saints practice squad offensive lineman Cameron Tom recently had his salary bumped to $27K+ per week, according to a source who spoke with Nick Underhill of The Advocate. He was previously making $7,200 per week. Assuming he stays on the taxi squad through the end of the season, he’ll earn $344K as opposed to $122K. His weekly pay is now equal to a minimum salaried player on the 53-man roster ($465K). It’s a sign that the Saints think highly of Tom and that other teams have thought about signing him away.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Ravens Had Interest In Adrian Peterson

The Ravens had interest in trading for running back Adrian Peterson before the Saints dealt him to the Cardinals, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).Adrian Peterson (vertical)

New Orleans ultimately acquired a 2018 conditional sixth-round pick for Peterson, so it’s unclear if Baltimore simply didn’t want to meet that asking price, or if Peterson perhaps indicated he’d prefer to play for the Cardinals. Peterson claims he did not request a trade away from the Saints, but it’s entirely possible general manager Mickey Loomis & Co. allowed him some say on his destination.

Baltimore has dealt with a number of injuries at the running back position, as Kenneth Dixon and Danny Woodhead are both on injured reserve. While Woodhead is eligible to begin practicing again in late October, the Ravens don’t currently have a timeline for his return, reports Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Dixon, meanwhile, will miss the entirety of the season, while Terrance West will be sidelined for a few weeks with a calf injury.

Javorius Allen and Alex Collins have handled the bulk of the Ravens’ carries in recent weeks, and figure to do so going forward. After missing out on Peterson, Baltimore re-signed veteran journeyman Bobby Rainey, who has already earned his paycheck in Week 6 by returning a kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown against the Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Peterson, Booker, Bowman

Adrian Peterson is the Cardinals‘ latest David Johnson replacement solution, but interestingly, a potential Peterson-to-Arizona path was discussed two years ago. The running back’s agent, Ben Dogra, contacted Cardinals GM Steve Keim during the first round of the 2015 draft and told Peterson to work friend Larry Fitzgerald about a possible trade to Arizona, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports. Peterson was then a disgruntled Vikings employee, lobbying for more guaranteed money — which he eventually received. But the Cardinals drafted Johnson a night later in the third round, and the Vikings ended up redoing Peterson’s contract. Peterson went on to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards that season en route to his fifth All-Pro first team appearance. The Cardinals then went with Chris Johnson before David Johnson took over late in that 13-3 campaign.

Peterson said earlier this week upon being traded to the Cards he did want a change of scenery from a Saints setup that wasn’t working for him but added he didn’t request a trade. The 32-year-old back is now Arizona’s starter, and the future Hall of Famer will be tasked with turning around a Cardinals rushing attack that’s been by far the worst in the league.

Here’s the latest from some Western-division teams.

  • On the subject of what-if trades, it appears a rumor emerged involving the Cowboys being linked to Broncos running back Devontae Booker is unfounded. Both the Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala and 9News’ Mike Klis shot down this talk (Twitter links), Jhabvala going as far as saying a deal involving the second-year back is “not even a remote possibility.” Although the Broncos have C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles healthy, both have extensive injury histories. Booker does as well but is controlled through 2019 on a rookie deal.
  • At least two teams were “seriously interested” in a NaVorro Bowman trade, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports. But the 49ers, due to his longevity and impact with the team, allowed the 29-year-old linebacker to veto a deal. John Lynch confirmed one team did want Bowman, only the eighth-year ‘backer didn’t want to play for the unnamed franchise. Barrows adds the four-time All-Pro became frustrated by being subbed out during multiple series per game.
  • Branden Albert worked out for the Seahawks this week and was still in the Seattle area as of Friday, but finances may be holding up a deal. While no terms have been reported about a potential Albert/Hawks agreement, the Seahawks may be attempting to save a week’s worth of salary by not signing Albert until the start of next week, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes. The Seahawks are off this week. Albert was also scheduled to work out for the Giants, who are having similar offensive line issues, but has yet to do so.

Adrian Peterson: I Did Not Request Trade

Adrian Peterson is happy to have left the Saints. But, he also says that he did not force his way into a trade sending him to the Cardinals. Adrian Peterson (vertical)

I’ll be lying to you to say that I didn’t want a change of scenery after four weeks of seeing how things played out,” Peterson said (via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss). “So, yeah, it was something that I was praying about — ‘Hey, God, I need you to answer this prayer for me. Are you listening to me?’ But in the midst of that, I was still tuned in and locked in. I had a great day of practice Monday, great day of practice. It was hot, too. It was outside. It was a good day. It was rough, but I was still locked in and taking care of my business, and the prayer was answered.”

Peterson is jazzed about the fresh start, but it’s not clear exactly what the Cardinals will be able to get out of him. Last year, Peterson spent the majority of the season hurt and averaged only 1.9 yards per carry when on the field. Meanwhile, he’s not getting any younger and while some quarterbacks seem to age like fine wine, running backs tend to age like seafood. Despite what the critics have to say, the 32-year-old insists that he has plenty left in the tank.

I have so much left,” Peterson said. “I look to play at least four to five more years, God willing. I have a lot left in the tank. Stay tuned and you guys will be able to see that first-hand.

We’ll soon find out what Peterson is capable of, starting with Sunday’s game against the Bucs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Trade Adrian Peterson To Cardinals

The Saints have traded Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals, as first reported by Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The two sides have since confirmed the swap via press release. The Saints will receive a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com."<strong

Peterson has struggled mightily in New Orleans, averaging just three yards per carry. The Cardinals are hoping that a change of scenery will help him get back to his old form. Perhaps the Cardinals are also banking on Peterson having fresh legs. He had only 27 rushing attempts through four games as Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara led New Orleans’ rushing attack. He’ll also have the benefit of two bye weeks – one with the Saints in Week 5 and one with the Cardinals in Week 8.

The Cardinals have been on the lookout for running back help ever since losing David Johnson to injury. Without one of the game’s most electrifying tailbacks, the Cardinals have been unable to get anything going on the ground.

Peterson ostensibly will slot in as the Cardinals’ top running back. Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, Elijhaa Penny, and D.J. Foster will be there in support, but Chris Johnson will not be after receiving a pink slip on Tuesday.

From the get-go, Peterson seemed a suspect fit for the Saints. Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, Peterson did not look to be on the same level as Kamara or Ingram. When he wasn’t getting the playing time he expected, he immediately lashed out at head coach Sean Payton and went public with his displeasure. We heard in mid-September that the Saints didn’t have any intention of trading or releasing Peterson. Weeks later, they’ve had a change of heart.

Initially, when he signed his two-year, $7MM deal with New Orleans, Peterson insisted that he would not make a fuss over his workload.

“I don’t need all those carries to be my best,” Peterson said in the offseason. “I don’t think I became a great player by having to have 20 or 30 carries to get 200 yards. If they feed it to me, hey, I’m going to eat. Whenever I get opportunities, I’ll take advantage of them.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Won’t Trade/Release Adrian Peterson

Saints running back Adrian Peterson downplayed a purported sideline dispute involving head coach Sean Payton, and though he recently expressed displeasure with his limited role in the New Orleans offense, the Saints don’t have any intention of trading or releasing Peterson, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.Adrian Peterson (Vertical)

[RELATED: Brandin Cooks‘ Discontent Led To Saints Trade]

Peterson, 32, saw action on only 15% of the Saints’ offensive snaps in Week 1, and while that percentage increased to 25% in Week 2 against the Patriots, Peterson hasn’t been a major contributor for New Orleans through two games. On 14 rushing attempts, Peterson has managed only 44 yards and has received just one target in the passing game.

The Saints trailed early and often in each of their two games this season, meaning that Peterson — and his limited receiving/pass-blocking ability — wasn’t needed on the field. Positive game scripts will likely be required for Peterson to regularly see action, although his problems with running out of the shotgun formation shouldn’t come into play. Through two contests, the Saints have used shotgun on 39% of plays, 3% fewer than league average, per SharpFootballStats.com.

The Cardinals, who recently lost star running back David Johnson for the foreseeable future, have been mentioned as a hypothetical trade partner for the Saints and Peterson. However, dealing Peterson would create $2.5MM and $1.25MM in dead money for New Orleans over the next two campaigns, respectively.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Peterson, Jets, Sloter

Saints running back Adrian Peterson downplayed his frustration with playing time following his team’s season-opening loss to the Vikings. Despite video clips showing the veteran yelling at head coach Sean Payton, Peterson was clear that the entire situation was blown out of proportion.

“It was definitely overdramatized,” Peterson told Joel Erickson of The New Orleans Advocate. “Of course, with the heat of the game, me being back in Minnesota and things like that, just catching that look – that intense look on my face, like I had – I actually got some laughs out of some of the memes that were made.”

Peterson finished the contest having played only nine snaps, and his 18 rushing yards was his lowest total since the 2015 season. While he acknowledged some frustrations with his lack of use, he believes the situation will inevitably sort itself out.

“I didn’t sign up for nine snaps, though, but unfortunately that’s the way the game played out,” Peterson said. “In my mind, personally, I knew it was gonna take some adjusting. You know, me and Mark [Ingram] played in the last preseason game, AK [Alvin Kamara] didn’t even play that game. So with all three of us being out there, I knew it would take a game or so to kind of get adjusted.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia lead Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko’s list of the top-10 head coaching candidates. Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is third on the list, while Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo round out the top-five.
  • When asked if Jets ownership would still trust general manager Mike Maccagnan to draft a quarterback, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini acknowledges that it’d be “unconventional” to let the executive go after only three seasons. However, the writer also notes that Maccagnan still needs to be evaluated for his ability to draft signal-callers, especially after the selection of Christian Hackenberg. Ultimately, Cimini is willing to give the general manager until the end of the season, as there’s still time for Hackenberg (and teammate Bryce Petty) to show improvements. However, if the quarterbacks aren’t developing, then there’s some obvious cause for concern.
  • The Vikings promoted Kyle Sloter to their active roster earlier today, but Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press observes (via Twitter) that the quarterback won’t be earning a huge pay raise. Sloter was already making more than your standard practice squad player, so his salary will “only” be boosted from $20K per week to a bit more than $27K per week.

Adrian Peterson On Signing With The Saints

When the Vikings and Adrian Peterson went their separate ways, things did not play out as expected. Initially, we heard rumblings of potential contenders like the Giants and Seahawks having interest in the veteran. Then, one by one, each of those clubs made it known that they did not want to bring the 32-year-old on board. Eventually, the Saints came into the picture and Peterson came on board, despite the presence of Mark Ingram. Adrian Peterson (Vertical)

Ingram will continue in his role as the Saints’ lead back while Peterson is in unfamiliar territory as a complementary piece. There are questions about how Peterson will handle his new role and some are even doubting whether he can be effective on the shorter end of a timeshare at this stage of his career.

Recently, Peterson spoke with Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report about the free agent process and his future in New Orleans. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

On why he did not ask the Saints about how many carries he’ll be getting each game:

“I don’t need all those carries to be my best. I don’t think I became a great player by having to have 20 or 30 carries to get 200 yards. If they feed it to me, hey, I’m going to eat. Whenever I get opportunities, I’ll take advantage of them.”

On changing his game to catch more passes down field;

“I was attracted to playing with Brees, a guy who is good at distributing the ball to different players. I know in this system, I’ll get some opportunities to catch the ball in space. Drew Brees, he’ll get the ball to me.”

On the pitch of coach Sean Payton:

I loved his honesty. He was straightforward. I could sense he really wanted me to be a part of the organization. All coaches want to win, but you can see it more with him. He’s very passionate about what he does. About 98 percent of the time, he was doing the talking.”

On his motivation:

Yes, the doubt motivates me. I’d be lying to say it doesn’t. You want to do things people say you can’t do.” “Yes, the doubt motivates me,” Peterson says. “I’d be lying to say it doesn’t. You want to do things people say you can’t do.”

Photo via Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Adrian Peterson On Injury, FA, Comeback

Adrian Peterson averaged just 1.9 yards per carry during an injury-marred season that featured just 37 totes, but that per-handoff figure was by far a career-low mark. That said, Vikings staffers did not believe Peterson lost much physically before the torn meniscus shelved him for months, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. However, they saw avoiding future injury at an advanced age and adjusting to a new offense as potential impediments to a bounce-back tenure in New Orleans.

A string of prominent Saints lavished praise upon the 32-year-old with praise during the team’s minicamp this week. As for Peterson himself, he detailed what kind of damage he did to his meniscus and why he feels confident he can return to previous levels.

It’s knowing what I was able to do on the field before I got injured, knowing that the meniscus was completely healed. I tore 90 percent of it, and it was no longer a factor (during his Saints work thus far),” Peterson said, via Breer, from Saints minicamp. “And then it was getting into my regimen—nothing had changed. I was still explosive, fast, working with all the young guys, I didn’t have no doubt at all.”

But after the abbreviated season and an untenable 2017 salary, the Vikings cut Peterson. And although he also visited the Seahawks and Patriots and was connected to other teams, the four-time All-Pro was unemployed for 47 days before catching on with the Saints. The future Hall of Fame running back, though, knew that long stay as a free agent was a possibility.

Yeah, it was different,” Peterson told Breer about his sudden status change in the NFL after 10 seasons being the unquestioned Minnesota starter. “But I knew coming off the meniscus tear, it could happen. If I came out and led the league in rushing (last season), I’d have been off the market. That wasn’t the situation I was in. So in my mind — this is the situation, this is the position you’re in. It’s not what you envisioned going into the offseason, but this is where you’re at. So how are you gonna handle it?

Peterson joined a backfield that as of now has Mark Ingram atop the depth chart and one that now has rookie Alvin Kamara installed as the passing-down back. Peterson famously returned from a torn ACL to post the second-most rushing yards in a season in NFL history, in 2012. He points out that he led the league in rushing yards just two years ago as evidence he can still function at a high level.

Outside sources that doubt because of age? I led the league when I was 30, and it was the same thing then,” Peterson said. “‘He’s going downhill.’ I played with a mediocre offensive line and still led the league at 30. I just look at things different. If I started buying into what everyone was saying, I probably would’ve retired three or four years ago.”

NFC Rumors: Vikings, Decker, Saints

It doesn’t sound like the Vikings will be going after Eric Decker. When asked about the veteran receiver, GM Rick Spielman indicated that the team is content at the position.

We always look at everybody that is released, but we feel pretty confident with our receiving corps right now,’’ Spielman said (via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press). “Just watching Stefon Diggs (and) Adam Thielen. … Laquon Treadwell is totally different (than as a rookie last year). … And to pick up a Michael Floyd, he’s been real impressive. Jarius Wright, he’s been kind of a forgotten man, but he’s out there making plays every day and we have two rookies that are pretty impressive so far (in Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley). So we feel pretty confident at this point where our depth is at that position, that we do have some weapons. … But … you never know. We always keep the door open for everybody.’’

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • He might be getting ahead of himself a little bit, but Saints running back Adrian Peterson says that he wants to play several more years. Peterson was sporting No. 37 at a charity softball game this week and he told reporters that 37 might be a good age for him to hang ’em up. “I’d be lying to you say it doesn’t give you a chip [on your shoulder]. Especially being a competitor,” the 32-year-old said, via Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate. “It’s not my main focus. It’s something that drives you a little bit. After 30, because it was the same back then. ‘Oh, he’s 30.’ Then I ended up leading the league in 2015. Same thing the next year. Stuff will continue to repeat itself until I finish.” Peterson inked a two-year deal with New Orleans this offseason.
  • Lions safety Tavon Wilson, who is in a contract year, has changed agents. He’s now represented by Wesley Spencer (Twitter link).
  • This week, the Cardinals shifted Andre Ellington back to running back. The Cardinals were experimenting with the idea of moving Ellington to wide receiver.