Earlier this week, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson announced that he would be signing a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. The contract is worth $7 million , but it is not all guaranteed. His salary in year one will be $1 million and his signing bonus will be $2.5 million. However, the rest of the money in the contract is not guaranteed. His year-two compensation comes in the form of bonuses and is contingent on whether he is actually on the active roster in 2018 and whether he is working out in the manner expected.
Peterson is very excited to join the New Orleans Saints, and feels that he can contribute in a positive way to this team. In a quote for ESPN, he said, “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.”
The Saints offensive line, with the talents of Terron Armstead and Max Unger, is an extremely important reason why the Saints have been so successful and why Adrian Peterson will make a successful New Orleans Saint.
Peterson is a fast power back, strong enough to break through a linebacker’s tackles, but faster than a safety. This combination is extraordinarily difficult for a defense to handle. With the help of a strong offensive line, Peterson will have more opportunities to break through opposing defenses and have some big gains. It is foreseeable that he will have one of his best years this year, because even with a weak offensive line in Minnesota, he founds great success.
Peterson’s talent as a halfback is unquestionable. In eight of his last 10 seasons, he has rushed for more than 1,000 yards. The two exceptions were in 2011 and 2016: in 2011 he fell just short with 970 yards, and in 2016 he only played in one game due to injuries. His best season came in 2012, when he came just eight yards short of the single season rushing record, racking up 2,097 rushing yards.
The New Orleans Saints are coming off of three sub-par seasons in 2014, 2015 and 2016. These three seasons came after a great playoff run in the 2013 season. Historically, the Saints have been a playoff-caliber team, especially during the Drew Brees era. This has made the past three seasons that much more disappointing for Saints fans. The team needs a spark, and while most of their struggles are defensive, the acquisition of Adrian Peterson could be exactly the spark that this team needs.
The Saints already have a great passing offense led by quarterback Drew Brees and a talented receiving corps. The rushing attack has been led by Marc Ingraham, a 2015 and 2017 pro-bowler, who rushed for 1,043 yards and had 319 receiving yards.
Adding a future Hall of Fame running back, Adrian Peterson, to the Saints roster adds depth that no other NFL team can match. It will allow the Saints to rush more often and more effectively because there is no longer such a steep drop off in talent between the first and second string running backs.
The Saints will need to spend the remainder of their offseason focusing on building a better defense, so that they can return to their previous status as a playoff team. Last season, their passing defense was ranked 31 out of 32 teams in the NFL, and their rushing defense was 14th.
These numbers are not those of a championship program, and they will need to be improved be it through acquiring new players or developing current ones. This, combined with what should be a stellar Saints offense would make the Saints a serious playoff and championship contender in 2017.