Looking at the rankings in the NFL, it is no secret that the Arizona Cardinals are the worst team in the run game.
The 32nd ranked rushing offenses needed to find a spark plug to get their offense going. Tuesday, they might have done just that.
News broke early Tuesday the Cardinals agreed with the New Orleans Saints in a trade that brings veteran running back Adrian Peterson to the desert. In return the Saints will receive a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick. In correspondence to the move, the Cardinals released Chris Johnson.
The depth chart is now organized as Peterson, Andre Ellington, Kerwynn Williams, Elijhaa Penny, and D.J. Foster.
Peterson, 32, signed a two-year, $7 million contract in April with the Saints. Peterson’s 2017 compensation of $3.5 million - $1 million guaranteed, $2.5 million signing bonus – was fully guaranteed at the signing. In 2018, none of Peterson’s $3.5 million is guaranteed.
In four games with the Saints Peterson rushed for 81 yards on 27 attempts and no touchdowns. Prior to his time in New Orleans Peterson spent the first 10 years of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. While with the Vikings, Peterson rushed for 2,418 yards and 97 touchdowns.
Been a long time coming
The Cardinals famously passed on Peterson in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. Instead of Peterson, the Cardinals selected Levi Brown out of Penn State. Brown never really materialized in Arizona, spending seven lack luster seasons with the team.
The Vikings would select the former Oklahoma star two picks later. Peterson would go on to be a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time First Team All-Pro. He was the 2007 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and won league MVP in 2012 and Offensive Player of the Year that same year.
Offensive line could affect Peterson
Part of the reason that the Cardinals rushing attack is dismal is in part to the offensive line play. The Cardinals have started nine different players on the offensive line through the first five weeks.
Arizona is waiting for word that guard Alex Boone can return to the lineup. In his place has been rookie Will Holden, which hasn’t worked out for Arizona. The Cardinals are also without tackle DJ Humphries due to a sprained MCL. On the right side of the line there has not been consistent play for all year. Evan Boehm has had some big holding penalties that have taken points off the board for Arizona while Jared Veldheer cannot hold his blocks.
Through five games Arizona has rushed for just 259 yards on 100 carries, averaging 51.8 yards per game. Eight players in the league have more yards on the ground than Arizona does as a team.
Arizona has struggled to move the ball in the run game since star running back David Johnson went down with a wrist injury in Week 1. In addition to a bad running game, quarterback Carson Palmer has been hit second most in the league being sacked 19 times.