Adrian Peterson found a new home.
The face of the Minnesota Vikings for a decade finalized a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints that will pay Peterson $7 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the situation. The deal included $3.5 million guaranteed in 2017 and is worth up to $8.25 million with incentives and escalators. The Saints later announced they have agreed to terms on a deal.
Rapoport added the Saints were the only team to formally offer a deal to Peterson this offseason.
“I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints,” Peterson said. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings. On offense, it goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skill set can make them even more dominant as a unit.
“They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well. I could tell from talking to head coach Sean Payton over the last two weeks that he did his due diligence in evaluating how I could contribute. I also did a lot of homework on the defense as well. While I know that injuries have played a role in performance, I also see areas of potential with a lot of younger guys having the ability to step up. Lastly, it goes without saying that the Saints have an amazing fan base and I look forward to making them proud and creating everlasting memories.”
We are excited to welcome Adrian to the New Orleans Saints,” coach Sean Payton added in a statement released by the team. “It’s rare and unique to have the opportunity to add a Hall of Fame player to your roster. His career has been top-notch and speaks for itself. We think he will be an excellent fit in our locker room and in our offense. We look forward to the opportunity later this spring to work with him on the field along with the rest of our team.”
Peterson’s average salary of $3.5 million places him 22nd among running backs this year, per Spotrac.com, behind the likes of Frank Gore ($4M), Theo Riddick ($3.85M), Bilal Powell ($3.75M) and Ryan Mathews ($3.6M). Peterson will also earn less than incumbent Saints starter Mark Ingram.
Ingram, a former first-round pick, is coming off the best season of his career, earning 1,043 yards on 205 carries for a 5.1-yard per tote average with six touchdowns. He also added 46 receptions for 319 yards and four receiving scores. Ingram’s increased receiving production over the past few years should help his attempt to fend off Peterson for carries.
The addition of Peterson will leave Saints fans — and fantasy football owners — wondering who will carry the larger load in 2017. Early indications are that Ingram will remain the starter with Peterson taking over the Tim Hightower role on early-down runs, third-and-shorts, and goal-line situations.
With his limited ability to be a receiver and poor pass blocking, Peterson doesn’t seem to fit in the Saints‘ pass-happy, shotgun-heavy offense. In fact, on paper, the fit is downright atrocious. However, All Day and the Saints both believe the generational back can push the offense over the top.
Peterson enters 2017 with a considerable chip on his shoulder after being greeted with a cold reception from teams in free agency. The 32-year-old back has made a career out of proving people wrong at every stage. Behind one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the NFL (the Saints owned the top run-blocking unit in 2016, per Football Outsider’s metrics), it should shock no one if Peterson returns from injury rejuvenated, motivated and back to bowling over defensive backs.
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