While he reiterated the team doesn’t currently plan to sign a veteran running back, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said he would “absolutely” consider bringing back Adrian Peterson if the Saints do add a back.
New Orleans signed Peterson to a two-year deal last offseason and traded him to the Arizona Cardinals in October, after Cardinals back David Johnson hurt his wrist and then-rookie Alvin Kamara emerged for the Saints. Peterson played in just six games for the Cardinals before a season-ending neck injury, and he was released in March.
Some have speculated the split between the Saints and Peterson was not amicable, with many pointing to a tense moment between Payton and Peterson at the end of the second quarter of their Week 1 game at the Minnesota Vikings.
“This gets back to the notion that we had some type of any argument at Minnesota,” Payton told reporters Saturday, “which I still say there was none. I think a ton of him.
“...He’s a tough player, warrior and a great worker, and we have a good relationship.”
Peterson told NFL Network on Thursday that he would be open to a return to the Saints, who will be without veteran Mark Ingram for the first four games due to a PED suspension. He has yet to draw significant interest on the free agent market but has been clear that he plans to continue his career.
The 33-year-old Peterson also told NFL Network he is completely healthy and has had his neck cleared by three different specialists. He has missed 19 games due to injury over the past two seasons after playing in all 16 games in 2015.
Payton said he hopes to get some of the Saints’ young backs, like Boston Scott, Trey Edmunds and Jonathan Williams, more work in Ingram’s absence. To the chagrin of fantasy owners everywhere, Payton doesn’t want to compensate for Ingram’s absence by piling on reigning offensive rookie of the year Alvin Kamara’s plate.
“The mistake would be then Alvin gets 15 more carries, and that’s not the direction we would expect to go,” Payton said. “I don’t think that is wise.”