METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton emphasized Saturday following the team’s rookie minicamp practice that he doesn’t have current plans to bring in a veteran running back in light of Mark Ingram’s pending four-game suspension.
Payton, however, left the door open when asked if he would consider Adrian Peterson, who recently told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that he would “definitely be open” to returning to the Saints.
“Absolutely,” Payton said emphatically. “This gets back to the notion that we had some type of any (sideline) argument at Minnesota (in Week 1 of the 2017 regular season), which I still say there was none. I think a ton of him.”
Peterson, who turned 33 in March, first joined New Orleans after signing a two-year, $7 million deal on April 25, 2017, just days ahead of the Saints’ selection of running back Alvin Kamara in the draft.
While Peterson arrived on the heels of a decorated career with the Vikings, it became clear during training camp that the Saints had something special in Kamara, who went on to win the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award.
Peterson found himself behind Ingram and Kamara on the depth chart, but the Saints believed they could make it work with the trio to start the regular season.
Nevertheless, the Saints eventually traded Peterson to the Cardinals on Oct. 10 after four regular-season games. Peterson’s stop in New Orleans resulted in 81 yards rushing on 27 carries, averaging 3 yards per attempt, and two catches for 4 yards.
He had better success in Arizona with a featured role, totaling 448 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 129 carries before a neck injury landed him on injured reserve to close out the season.
The Cardinals released Peterson on March 13, and the 12th-year pro has since spent time training and posting workout videos on social media while waiting for his next opportunity.
For now, the Saints aren’t in the market to bring in a veteran to bolster the backfield with Ingram’s looming suspension. The team appears comfortable with Kamara, Jonathan Williams, Daniel Lasco, Trey Edmunds and rookie Boston Scott.
But circumstances in New Orleans could change ahead of training camp, and Peterson apparently won’t be far from Payton’s radar should that scenario develop.
“That would the part where if all of a sudden we decided, hey, we’re going to look at additional players that are on the street,” Payton said. “And certainly his name — there’d be a few others — we have them on the board right now. Who’s available, veteran running backs, stacked on a board and graded. But, listen, he’s a tough player, warrior, and a great worker, and we have a good relationship.”