Adrian Peterson could be headed for a reunion with the New Orleans Saints, and Sean Payton is the one fueling the rumors.
Speaking this week about the team’s future, Payton share some details about what the team might be doing during the four-game suspension that the NFL handed to Mark Ingram. As NFL.com reported, Payton said the team has no immediate plans to bring in a veteran, but said he would be open to bringing back Peterson if those plans were to change.
The former NFL All-Pro running back had a short tenure in New Orleans, playing four games and rushing for 81 yards on 27 carries. The Saints traded him away as rookie running back Alvin Kamara emerged as a bonafide star, shipping him to Arizona. But the Saints are will be in need of a running back that can fill the hole while Ingram is out, and Peterson showed his skills in the second half of the season with the Cardinals, where he rushed for 448 yards on 129 carries, with two touchdowns.
After being released by the Cardinals, Peterson became a free agent. As Payton said, the Saints may take a long look at Peterson if the team decides to look for more depth in the backfield.
“That would the part where if all of a sudden we decided, hey, we’re going to look at additional players that are on the street,” Payton said. “And certainly his name — there’d be a few others — we have them on the board right now. Who’s available, veteran running backs, stacked on a board and graded. But, listen, he’s a tough player, warrior, and a great worker, and we have a good relationship.”
As The Sporting News noted, the Saints were 11-5 last season largely on the strength of their running game. Ingram rushed for 1,124 yards and Kamara was an effective dual threat, notching 728 yards rushing and 826 yards receiving to go along with 15 touchdowns.
As the NFL.com report noted, the Saints last year initially envisioned a three-headed backfield that featured Peterson, Ingram, and Kamara equally. The team could look to bring in Peterson again during Ingram’s suspension to keep the pressure off Kamara and give more weapons to Drew Brees. But as the NFL rumors indicate, the decision likely won’t be coming anytime soon, and the Saints are expected to go into training came with their current backfield.