After a miserable stint with the team last year, the Saints might be a dream pairing for Adrian Peterson — by Ryan Ward
The Saints are desperate for a power running back to compliment the speedier, slashing style of Alvin Kamara. This comes after Mark Ingram was suspended for four games for violating the league's PED rules. Last year, in a move to make a powerful backfield the Saints brought in aging star Adrian Peterson. But that experiment went horrible. Peterson clashed with coaches and averaged a weak 3 yards while rushing for 81 yards on 27 carries. After being seen lashing out at Sean Payton on the sideline, and failing through 4 games, Peterson was shipped to Arizona to help with the missing David Johnson.
Now, Peterson is on the market for a team and the Saints are in the market for a power back that can take the pressure off of Kamara. Despite their ordeal last year, this may be the perfect match. The Saints, ironically enough, switched to an Adrian Peterson style of offense last year as they relied more on the run. They spent more time under center and in I-formation.
Peterson is best when he gets a running start at the line of scrimmage to build up his speed and to read the holes along the line. He flashed the ability last year for the Cardinals to be a productive back. In his first game with the Cardinals, he ran for 134 yards on 26 carries. Two weeks later he ran for 159 yards on 37 carries. In those games he was able to get a rhythm going and showed that he is still the punishing runner that we all remember.
His flashes did come at a price in the other four games he appeared in though, as he ran for 21, 29, 26, and 79 yards in each of those four contests. What we saw in that span is that Peterson struggled when he wasn't given the chance to get into a rhythm. In two of those performances he was only given the ball 11 and 14 times. But in the games that he carried the ball more than 21 times, he broke out for his biggest performances.
With the Saints edging more towards the running game in the twilight of Drew Brees' career, they stand a chance to be one of the few teams that Peterson can actually excel on. If asked to fill a role similar to Ingram's, Peterson can excel as he pounds away at the defense with each carry. But the Saints and Sean Payton have to prove that they are willing to get past last season's debacle if they are to reunite. In the end, irony wins out. The player and team with the nastiest breakup from last year, might end up needing each other the most this year.