Adrian Peterson has prayers answered in trade to Arizona Cardinals

Peterson's trade reaction was: “Thank you, Jesus. You answer prayers. I wasn’t pushing to be moved, but ... it was

Adrian Peterson’s prayers were answered on Tuesday when he was traded out of a third-team role with the Saints and into the featured running back spot with the Cardinals.

But what about the Cardinals’ requests to a higher power? Is Peterson part of the solution to a moribund run game?

The answer to that will come over the next few weeks.

Peterson practiced with the Cardinals for the first time on Wednesday, and he will play Sunday against the Buccaneers at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Peterson found out he was no longer with the Saints on Tuesday morning via text from a friend that read “911,” followed by “You’ve been traded.”

Peterson’s reaction?

“Thank you, Jesus. You answer prayers.

“I’d be lying to say I didn’t want a change of scenery.”

adrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 1

Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson talks with running backs coach Freddie Kitchens during practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. October 11, 2017. (Photo: Michael Chow/azcentral sports)

The Cardinals do, too, because their run game is barren. The offensive line and tight ends have not blocked well, but it’s harder to change those elements during a season than it is a running back.

So they swapped out one 32-year-old running back, Chris Johnson, for another, Peterson.

Johnson found out about the trade before Cardinals coach Bruce Arians could inform him.

“It’s tough, because I really love the guy,” Arians said. “I hated the way it happened, before I got a chance to talk to him.”

The Cardinals rank last in the NFL in average rushing yards per game (51.8) and yards per carry (2.6). Peterson will be the fourth different starter at running back. David Johnson suffered a dislocated wrist in Week 1 and is out at least another month. Kerwynn Williams started one game and Chris Johnson the past three.

Chris Johnson gained 114 yards and averaged 2.5 yards a carry. Via Twitter, he made it clear he didn’t think he was the problem with the running game.

“I would go back n forth with y’all but if y’all watch the game and y’all feel like I was the root of the problem y’all have to be clueless!!”

The Cardinals made the trade, however, because they believed Peterson was better than any back they had.

“A violent runner who still has it,” is how Arians described him. “He’s not 22 anymore, but he still pours it up in there and is very exciting.”

With the lack of blocking up front, the Cardinals need a back to “pour it up in there” because there’s been neither room nor time to dance or hesitate.

Peterson signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Saints in the offseason, but he tumbled down the depth chart as the regular season rolled around. In four games this year, he had 81 yards on 27 attempts.

“All-Day” Peterson had morphed into “Part-time” Peterson.

“I have so much left,” Peterson said. “I look to play at least four to five more years, God willing. I have a lot left in the tank. Stay tuned and you guys will be able to see that first-hand.”

Peterson will get a chance to prove that right away. He is listed as the starter on the depth chart, and is expected to get significant playing time against the Bucs.

“That’s the hardest thing, pass protection and pass routes,” Arians said. “We’re not very complicated as far as running backs. So, he won’t be playing third down. We’ll get him taught as much as he can handle.”

Peterson is close friends with receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and took Fitzgerald up on his offer to say in his guest house. Peterson said he was up until 3 a.m. Wednesday studying the playbook.

“I’ve known Larry for a long time,” Peterson said. “And I’ve never heard the excitement in his voice that I heard when he called. It felt good to hear that, coming from a good friend. He knows what I’ve been going through.”

Even before this week, Peterson was a part of Cardinals history. They passed on him in the 2007 draft to take tackle Levi Brown with the fifth overall pick.

Fitzgerald has teased General Manager Steve Keim, saying that the Cardinals would have won a Super Bowl or two if they had taken Peterson. It’s dark humor, because Fitzgerald could be right.

“I’m sure if they flash back, they would probably do things differently,” Peterson said. “But I’m here now. Things have come full circle. I’m going to make the best of my opportunity.”

Peterson notes

  • The trade came together quickly. Arians and Keim met earlier this week after the Cardinals lost in Philadelphia, 34-7. The Cardinals ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (51.8) and per carry (2.6). Together, they decided to call the Saints and inquire about Peterson. “I’ve been very pleased with the tape I saw of him this year,” Arians said. “Just his opportunities dwindled down there.”
  • The Cardinals are sending a conditional sixth-round pick in 2018 to New Orleans. That pick is conditional on Peterson reaching a certain play-time level.

adrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 2 Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson talks with running backs coach Freddie Kitchens during practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. on October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 3 Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson said that he was praying for a change of scenery while talking to the media after practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. on October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 4 Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians watches Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson (23) walk to practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. on October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 5 Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson talks to the media after practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. on October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 6 Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson talks to the media after practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. on October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 7 Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson walks away after talking to the media after practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 8 Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson talks to the media after practice at the team's training facility in Tempe, Ariz. on October 11, 2017.  Michael Chow/azcentral sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 9 46. RB Adrian Peterson NO 5  Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 10 98. Adrian Peterson RB Saints  Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 11 1. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson: $14 million  Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 12 Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, left, talks with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, right, after an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Minneapolis. The Vikings won 30-24.  Andy Clayton-King/APadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 13 5. Adrian Peterson | Running back | Minnesota Vikings  Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sportsadrian-peterson-has-prayers-answered-in-trade-to-arizona-cardinals photo 14

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