The New Orleans Saints do not plan on signing a veteran running back despite having to open the 2018 season without Mark Ingram, but that doesn't mean they won't explore their options.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton recently revealed, via ESPN.com's Mike Triplett, that the team would "absolutely" consider Adrian Peterson if it decides to add to its backfield: "This gets back to the notion that we had some type of any argument [on the sideline during Week 1] at Minnesota, which I still say there was none. I think a ton of him."
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported on Thursday that Peterson has been cleared by doctors to return to the field and that the seven-time Pro Bowler is open to a reunion with the Saints:
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
Those crazy @AdrianPeterson workout videos aren’t just for show. The former MVP tells me he wants NFL teams to keep watching, his neck has been cleared by multiple doctors — and he’d definitely listen if the #Saints called after Mark Ingram’s suspension. @nflnetwork https://t.co/wK62uBuzoR
After spending the first 10 years of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, the No. 7 overall pick in 2007 signed with New Orleans last offseason. His time in the Big Easy did not go as he had hoped, as he ran for just 81 yards on 27 carries in four games. The veteran was ultimately traded in October after rookie Alvin Kamara emerged as a versatile playmaker.
Peterson showed some signs of life with the Arizona Cardinals, running for 448 yards and two touchdowns in six games. However, he ended the season on injured reserve as the result of a neck injury.
That followed a 2016 season in which he was limited to just three games because of a knee injury.
New Orleans could be in the market to add depth behind Kamara after Ingram was recently suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. And if the Saints come calling, expect Peterson to be ready.
"For whatever reason, it just didn't work out [in New Orleans], but when I got my shot in Arizona, I showed what I was able to do," Peterson said, via Pelissero. "I know once I get back out there, I'll be blessed with a healthy season and show people I'm still the best in the league."
The former NFL MVP, now 33, may not be the player he once was, but he still believes he can carry a team to a Super Bowl.