Fresh off a 34-7 loss on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals spent some time thinking long and hard about how to fix some of the woes on the team moving forward. With the NFL’s bottom-ranked running game picking up just 31 rushing yards on 14 rushing attempts, the Cardinals decided to make a move to improve the depth at running back. That led to a phone call with the New Orleans Saints and resulted in the acquisition of Adrian Peterson.
Trade! The New Orleans Saints have traded Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals for a conditional pick per sources
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) October 10, 2017
Peterson resurfaced with the New Orleans Saints this year after parting ways with the Minnesota Vikings. No longer the go-to running back he once was, Peterson carried the football 27 times for just 81 yards in his brief time in a Saints uniform, with not a single touchdown while playing a supporting role behind Mark Ingram and watching Alvin Kamara have more of an impact on the Saints running game when given opportunities.
Safe to say, this season has not gotten off the start Peterson probably expected, so a chance to hit a reset button in a larger role in Arizona should probably be a welcomed change of scenery before it is too late. But will he truly be able to be the savior of the Cardinals running game?
First a Saint, now a Cardinal…next Adrian Peterson will be the Pope
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 10, 2017
Part of the concern for the Cardinals this season, especially this past weekend in Philly, has been the health and stability of the offensive line. It doesn’t matter who you have carrying the football if your line up front is failing to protect for whatever the reasons may be. But the hope in Arizona is the offensive line does figure out how to block for the run and that Peterson can provide a spark on the field to take some of the pressure off Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald. It’s also worth noting here that the three stars of Arizona’s offense now have been playing for a combined 39 seasons. The Cardinals have the look of a desperate team trying to give it one last shot to win something before preparing to turn the page on the franchise’s future with an aging star at quarterback, wide receiver and now at running back.
The Cardinals are 2-3 this season, but are just one game out of first place in the NFC West. The division is still anyone’s to grab between the Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, and Los Angeles Rams (forget about the 49ers), so a move like this could pay off as far as the division is concerned. But this is a far cry from filling in the final piece of the puzzle for a Super Bowl run. Maybe if this were seven or eight years ago, but not now.
Instead, the Cardinals are giving Peterson one last chance to shine, and they would benefit from it if he does even though it brings no path to a brighter long-term future. Peterson, like Emmitt Smith before him, could simply be winding down his final days in the league in Arizona, which is not a bad place to ride into the sunset.