With 11,747 rushing yards and 102 total touchdowns (97 rushing) to his name, four-time All-Pro Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.
Therefore, despite the fact that he’s 32-years-old with injury concerns, quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was overjoyed at the news that his team signed AP to a two-year deal earlier this week.
"Listen, you're talking about one of the great running backs that's ever played this game," Brees said Wednesday after the Zurich Class Pro-Am at TPC Louisiana. "I think he's got a lot left in him. I'm sure, by all accounts, he's excited about the opportunity, so I think we're getting a guy who's hungry with a chip on his shoulder.”
Last season, Peterson was limited to just three games for the Minnesota Vikings due to injury and averaged just 1.9 yards per carry for a grand total of 72 yards. He didn’t have a single touchdown.
What’s perhaps the most interesting aspect of Peterson’s signing is how he will end up meshing with Mark Ingram, who is coming off of a 1,043-rushing-yard season in which he averaged 5.1 yards per carry with six touchdowns.
But, Brees doesn’t see an issue with pairing the two in his backfield.
"I think he'll add a great complement to what we have with Mark Ingram, who I think is one of the best running backs in the league right now," the quarterback said.
He continued, "I think both of those guys run with a bit of anger and a bit of passion and an edge, which is what you want from the guy who's in there. I think that in this day and age in this league, it's nearly impossible to go through a season with just one guy. You have to have two backs that are a one-two punch because it's just too physical; it's too tough of a position to play week in and week out.”
In all, Brees is very optimistic about his team’s running game heading into next season, saying, ”I think having both of those guys as this one-two, I think makes them potentially one of the best tandems in the league."
The Saints ranked second in the NFL in points scored per game last season with 29.3.
But, they ranked in the bottom half of the league on the ground, rushing the ball 25.2 times per contest for 1,742 yards, which was right in the middle of the pack.
However, New Orleans showed a willingness to run the ball in the red zone and picked up 17 touchdowns on the ground, which ranked sixth in the NFL. Peterson will not likely become a 1,000-yard rusher for the Saints, but he can thrive with limited and realistic expectations.
Ingram, who has shown an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, has a much different skill-set than Peterson, and therefore both backs can be used in a variety of ways by Sean Payton in one of the most prolific offensive attacks in the league year after year.