It had to happen.
Adrian Peterson is a Hall of Fame player. There’s no denying that. That doesn’t mean he was a great fit for the New Orleans Saints. Four games in black and gold were all both sides needed to see to prove that.
Peterson carried the ball 27 times for a mere 81 yards. When he got in the game, things felt forced. It felt like they trying to jam him into an offense that really didn’t need him. When he got the ball he looked like, well, a 32-year old running back coming off a meniscus injury. Sure, he was physical enough to break a few tackles but the burst just wasn’t the same.
The image of him trying to bounce it outside to daylight on two separate occasions against the Patriots stands out so vividly. There was room to run; he saw it, but when he went to turn the corner defenders were able to close the gap and shut him down. Maybe he would’ve gotten that burst back the more carries he received, but that was never going to happen with the Saints. This offense always has and always will be centered around Drew Brees. To that end, Peterson never gave the team much in the receiving game which also severely limited his opportunities for snaps. Simply put, any competent running back can equal or even surpass the production Peterson was giving them.
Add it all up and this was an easy call. Arizona is desperate for a running back and the Saints really don’t need the extra one they have. Now they get a conditional sixth round pick as compensation. It’s not perfect but it is something. It also allows the team to squash what would have been an ongoing storyline about Peterson’s role.
For those concerned about Mark Ingram’s health, I get it. He’s missed time in the past. But if Ingram were to miss games this season, I believe the Saints have full confidence they can turn to Alvin Kamara to be their featured guy which is the key to the entire trade.
I’m not sure the Saints realized Kamara’s all-around capabilities when they drafted him. They viewed him as the next Reggie Bush/Darren Sproles but have now realized he brings more than those two to the table. He can be the satellite back that catches the ball out of the backfield but is also a better pure running back than both of those players. The Saints can use him in more than just their one back, three wide-receiver sets. If he has to play in the ‘traditional’ running back packages, he can do that. Had the Saints known Kamara had those capabilities when they drafted him, it’s fair to question if they would have even signed Peterson.
Arizona may be the perfect place for Peterson to revive his career. There he will get more reps and perhaps become the Peterson of old. If that happens, good for him. In New Orleans that was never going to happen. As for the Saints, they’ll move on, and the offense won’t skip a beat without him.
Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.