Adrian Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals got a win-win out of the deal with the New Orleans Saints that sent the running back from the bayou to the desert. The only thing that could sweeten the deal? Free room and board, which future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald has blessed Peterson with until he can get back on his feet.
Adrian Peterson staying in Larry Fitzgerald's guest house. Said he's never heard Fitz so excited as he was when they talked post-trade.
— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) October 11, 2017
Peterson and Fitzgerald are elder statesmen, relatively speaking. AP was drafted in ’07 (running backs in particular don’t have a long shelf-life in the NFL) and the ageless Larry Fitz has been in the league since ’04. According to the NFLPA, the average NFL career is about 3.3 years; both these guys have tripled that and then some.
Peterson, for a time, was tapped to be greatest running back of all-time. He ran away with the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2007. That same year, he also set the NFL record for most rushing yards in a game with 296; a record that still stands today.
Fast forward to 2011: AP goes down with a season-ending knee injury; a torn ACL and MCL. That’s a veritable death sentence for a running back in the NFL. But AP is no ordinary man. Eight months after his injury, he started Week 1 of the 2012 season; his expedited recovery was nothing short of a miracle. That same year, he rushed himself to his first-ever NFL MVP award, finishing the season just nine yards shy of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105 rushing yards.
Three years later, AP found himself in the middle of a different injury predicament; facing child abuse charges after going HAM on his son with a switch (a stick you break off a tree) for misbehaving. What a man does in his own home is his own business, but Peterson crossed the line.
That’s not to say it’s not the same treatment he got growing up in small-town East Texas, but when you’re one of the biggest stars in the NFL, you can’t go around beating the sh*t out of your little son with a stick and have the pictures hit the internet.
That debacle kept him off the field for pretty much the entire 2014 season, but in true AP fashion, he bounced back and led the league in rushing in 2015. But the pendulum would swing back in 2016, when AP played only 3 games due to injury, and the Minnesota Vikings announced they would not be exercising his 2017 option in order to save themselves the $18 million AP would have been owed.
The New Orleans Saints picked him up on a 2-year, $7 million dollar contract in April 2017, but it wasn’t meant to be. He was a terrible fit in New Orleans’ pass-heavy, Drew Brees-centric offense, lasting only four games before Saints head coach Sean Payton shipped him to Arizona for conditional sixth-round draft pick.
Arizona, of course, has been plagued by injuries at running back this season. Their First-team All-Pro David Johnson went down Week 1 with a wrist injury that will keep him sidelined for most of the season, and they cut veteran back Chris Johnson the same day they signed AP, which is only noteworthy because of Johnson’s hilariously ironic tweet:
AP NEED MORE TOUCHES
— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJohnson28) September 12, 2017
As per Johnson’s request, AP will get more touches. The NFC West is a three-horse race between the Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks. Peterson’s 32 — old for a running back — but he’s got some good football left in those legs.
Even if the Cardinals don’t win another game, AP’s in a good spot; he can open a retirement home with Carson Palmer (37) and Larry Fitzgerald (35). A lot of people move to Arizona after they retire, these three are just a little ahead of the curve.