PHOENIX – The Arizona Cardinals, with the worst rushing game in the NFL, acquired running back Adrian Peterson from the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday in exchange for an undisclosed 2018 draft pick.
Peterson, 32, has rushed for 11,828 yards and 97 touchdowns in his 10-plus pro seasons. The four-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection signed a two-year contract with the Saints during the offseason after spending his first 10 NFL seasons with the Vikings.
"We are always on the lookout for opportunities to improve our team and we look at this as one of those opportunities," Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim said in a news release announcing the trade. "What Adrian has accomplished in this league is well-established. Our needs for a spark in our running game right now is also obvious and we are excited to give him the chance to provide that."
Peterson has played sparingly with little success for New Orleans. He has gained 81 yards in 27 carries, an average of 3.0 yards per attempt with a long run of 11.
With an offensive line that wasn't all that strong to begin with now riddled by injuries, the Cardinals (2-3) are averaging a league-worst 51.8 yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry.
To make room for Peterson, Arizona released veteran running back Chris Johnson, the only other active NFL player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. Johnson ran for 2,006 yards with the Tennessee Titans in 2009; Peterson ran for 2,097 yards — 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season record — during his 2012 NFL MVP season with the Vikings.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who grew up in Minnesota and still has a home there, is a good friend of Peterson. Fitzgerald sent out a tweet with an animated photo of a boy dancing happily under the heading, "My mood this morning."
Arizona's players had Tuesday off and the team said Peterson would be at practice Wednesday. The Cardinals were blown out at Philadelphia 34-7 on Sunday in one of Bruce Arians' worst losses in five seasons as coach.
The Cardinals undoubtedly are under no illusions that Peterson is the running back he was in his prime. But Keim figures he's an improvement over what they had before.
Arizona lost one of the game's best backs, David Johnson, in the season opener. Johnson, a first-team All-Pro at the flex position and second-team at running back last season, is out for at least another month while recovering from surgery to repair a fractured wrist.