Adrian Peterson is not what he used to be. Very few running backs over 30 are (I’m looking at you Marshawn Lynch), but his time in New Orleans was as rough as it could have been. A Week 1 spat with Sean Payton over his usage created a rift that seemed impossible to bridge. Peterson was used to being fed the ball 15+ times a game, and the Saints rarely run it that many times in a game, never mind with the same back carrying the load.
Mark Ingram was the incumbent hammer in New Orleans, and Alvin Kamara had just been drafted to be the spark. It was a three-headed monster that only had room for two, and as a result Peterson has now been moved to the Arizona Cardinals for just a conditional draft pick. Who are the winners and losers from this deal?
Winner: Mark Ingram’s fantasy owners
AP took 27 carries and three targets in his four games as a Saint, getting just 2.9 yards a touch, which is part of the reason he has been shipped out of town.
Those seven touches a game should all go back to Ingram now, who has been running at 4.0 yards per carry and caught 15 balls for 8.3 yards a catch, that’s a nice 3.2 points a game more.
Winner: Peterson’s UK fans
There are some over here in the United Kingdom that are big fans of Peterson’s, and for them this trade is a dream come true as it means that #28 will be the first player ever to play two games in London in a single year. After taking four carries for just four yards against the Miami Dolphins in Wembley, Peterson will now be taking on the Los Angeles Rams at the home of rugby, Twickenham Stadium, in Week 7. Peterson’s air miles should get a nice bump from a second transatlantic trip in a month too.
Loser: Arizona’s offense
Since the start of the 2016 season Peterson has rushed for 153 yards at just 2.4 yards per carry. To say he isn’t the back he once was doesn’t quite cut it. During the prime of Peterson’s career he looked like he would challenge the record books, now he is arguably the worst player in the NFL, or at least in a tie with Nick Folk.
RealSport were present at the Saints-Dolphins game in London and it was extremely clear that there was no burst of acceleration left in his legs, no power or explosion available at the drop of a hat like there was in 2012 or 2015.
The Cardinals have been desperate for a running back since David Johnson got hurt in Week 1. Chris Johnson has been running at 2.5 yards per carry, Kerwynn Williams is an even worse 1.7 yards per carry, but their problems go far deeper than the running back position, and Adrian Peterson is not going to suddenly make the offensive line good or improve the passing game.
Peterson is not the force he once was, and it makes total sense for the Saints to trade him, even for a conditional pick, I just can’t believe they found a team willing to take a shot on All Day.
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