The change of scenery was good for Peterson.
Adrian Peterson didn’t ask to be traded to the Cardinals, but he was relieved when it happened. Peterson made his debut with Arizona on Sunday, and it’s fair to say that a fresh start with the Cardinals worked out well for Peterson and the team.
It didn’t take Peterson long to get into the end zone for the Cardinals. He capped off a six-play, 75-yard Cardinals drive with a 27-yard touchdown run.
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Peterson finished with 26 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns. That’s one fewer carry than he had during his entire brief tenure with the Saints.
“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 in his first press conference with the Cardinals.
Peterson wasn’t the only older guy who showed out for the Cardinals. Carson Palmer went 18-of-22 with 283 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick. Larry Fitzgerald had 138 yards and a touchdown.
“Obviously a day for old guys,” head coach Bruce Arians said after the game, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website.
Peterson didn’t look old while he was juking the daylights out of the Buccaneers defense.
The Bucs came into the game with the eighth-ranked rushing defense. They were giving up an average of 87.2 yards per game on the ground.
The Vikings declined Peterson’s option after the 2016 season and he landed in free agency. But Peterson is 32, and he was coming off of a knee injury that kept him off the field for most of last year. He averaged just 1.9 yards per carry with the Vikings last year. These factors raised questions about his future in the league.
Peterson signed with the Saints after visiting several teams. New Orleans already had Mark Ingram, and they selected Alvin Kamara in the third round of the 2017 draft. Ingram and Kamara are well-rounded and function as rushers, blockers, and receivers. Peterson wasn’t an ideal fit for the scheme, and the result was a much smaller role than he had anticipated with the Saints.
He had 27 carries for just 81 yards in his four games with the Saints.
The Cardinals needed a running back after losing David Johnson to a wrist injury. Peterson wasn’t a factor in New Orleans and was happy to land with a team that needed someone to run the rock. But Johnson could return after Thanksgiving, and Peterson might once again find himself lower on the depth chart than he’d like to be. For now, though, he’s taking advantage of the opportunity to rebound in Arizona.
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