After being unwanted in Minnesota and mostly unused in New Orleans, Adrian Peterson got another chance to be a big deal on Sunday when he made his debut with the Arizona Cardinals, who'd acquired him earlier in the week in a trade with the Saints for a sixth-round draft choice.
Peterson scored two touchdown and ran for 134 yards as Arizona jumped to a huge lead and then held off Tampa Bay 38-33. The stars of the game were Arizona's mature guys -- Peterson, 32; former Holy Angels star Larry Fitzgerald, 34, and quarterback Carson Palmer, 37.
"I know how to coach old guys," coach Bruce Arians joked.
In the game's first three minutes, Peterson ran for 53 yards and scored a touchdown. The initial returns are that the Cardinals, after trying several other options, finally have a suitable replacement for injured star David Johnson, who broke his wrist in the first game of the season.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic declared that Peterson's arrival could be a season-saver for the Cardinals: "He turned a desperate team into a dangerous team. He helped a disappointing offense locate its missing dominance. He triggered a 21-point outburst on Arizona’s first three possessions, more than the team had scored in any of its previous five games. He raised the level of intensity on the Arizona sideline, the effort of the offensive linemen and the level of respect on the other side of the field. He provided much-needed balance to a team that was growing old and stale, and now anything seems possible.If he could play defensive back as well, you might think the Super Bowl was back in play."
On espn.com, Josh Weisfuss wrote: "Now that the Cardinals have revitalized their run game, they'll start seeing different coverages, Arians said. That'll make Palmer's dropbacks easier and less contested. That'll give him more time. That'll ignite the vertical passing game again. Arizona's offense, perhaps more than most, is intertwined. The running game begets the passing game, which begets the running game. On Sunday, it all was triggered by Peterson."
On si.com, Ben Baskin wrote about how Peterson met the challenge of quickly picking up a new offense: "On his flight down to Arizona, he was going through the Cardinals offense, and Peterson later said the playbook was so complex that it looked like a foreign language to him. But he stayed up till 3:30 that night studying and hasn’t stopped since. He came into this game feeling confident that he had already learned most of the complex scheme, the third he’s been playing in just this past year. A few times in the huddle on Sunday, Carson Palmer went to remind the new back of his assignment and Peterson cut him off and told him that he was good, he got it. 'He picked it up so fast,' the quarterback says. 'I’m excited to see the wrinkles that [coach Arians] builds into the offense because we haven't had Adrian Peterson. And there is only one of those.' "
And here's a Fantasy Football perspective from the New York Post: "If you drafted him and kept him, suddenly you have a useable impact player. If you grabbed him off waivers at some point, you have found a cheap gem. And if somehow, some way, he still is available (which is unlikely), empty your free agent budget, use your precious waiver claim. Here’s a preview of what is to come: Next week, the Rams, who allow the second-most fantasy points to RBs (and that is before factoring in Week 6 which included a long TD run by Leonard Fournette). After a bye, the 49ers, who are third-worst against RBs. Then it gets tougher, and like we said, we expect late-season regression. So ride him next week, sit on him through the bye, use him in Week 9, then trade him before your league’s deadline."
And finally, there's this point of view from the New Orleans Saints' Who Dat Dish blog, chiding the national media for all of the attention paid to Peterson while the Saints scored 52 points in beating Detroit on Sunday: "If you read the Bleacher Report Saints feed and had to drink every time you saw an Adrian Peterson article on Sunday you might be dead. Well, maybe not with the tolerance of a New Orleanian, but you get the point. It’s a shame the Saints felt the need to pursue Peterson when it never seemed like a good move. But that’s in the past. Or, at least Who Dats are hoping it can be put in the past. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are studs and they proved it against the Lions. All of this Peterson talk is just a distraction from what they’re doing. Who Dat Nation is just fine with winning however their team gets there. But please national media, give us a break. How about paying attention to what the Saints are doing, not what they’ve done."