With news of Adrian Peterson visiting the New Orleans Saints next week, could the all-time great answer their problems at running back?
With the 2017 NFL Draft less than three weeks away, the New Orleans Saints are trying to get ahead of the game and fill a need. With only one stable running back in Mark Ingram, the Saints either need to get a good back-up to him or find a new starter. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news on Thursday that Adrian Peterson would be visiting New Orleans in free agency.
While running back is a need for New Orleans, drafting one could be a bust. The Saints need someone who knows how to run an offense and give Drew Brees a break. With such a pass-happy offense, the Saints need someone who can take the pressure off of Brees, score touchdowns and reinvigorate their run game.
Last year wasn’t the best year for Peterson with an injury sidelining him for 13 games. If you look back at his 2015 starts, Peterson played in all 16 games, rushed for a little under 1,500 yards, averaged almost five yards per carry and ended the season with 11 touchdowns. Compare that to Mark Ingram’s stats from last year. Despite playing in all 16 games, Ingram rushed for 1,043 yards, averaging 5.1 yards a carry, but only had six touchdowns. Ingram might have the speed and ability to get key first downs, but his failure to find the end zone is troubling.
That’s where Adrian Peterson comes in. Peterson is not only able to find the end zone, but he’s everything a good running back should be.
As talented as Peterson is, there’s still some drawbacks to Peterson signing with them. The Saints offensive line remains a problem in terms of health. Their offensive line was great at protecting Drew Brees and opening up some holes, but keeping them healthy is a big concern. If the O-line can stay healthy, then there shouldn’t be much to worry about. But if not, then Peterson might be a no-go.
The other problem I can foresee is Peterson’s own injury history. Suffering both a torn LCL, ACL and most recently, a torn meniscus, he isn’t getting any younger. Then there’s the child abuse scandal which has given him a checkered past.
The case for Peterson to the Saints can be made and the case against him can be made too. It all boils down to how much the Saints are willing to spend and if they’re willing to bet on a rookie instead of a veteran. There’s risks for both, but Peterson could pay huge dividends if he were to work out.