The first carry of the Minnesota Vikings’ Week 1 matchup against the New Orleans Saints was a nine-yard run by Adrian Peterson. Oh, how far we’ve come since then. The Saints later dealt Peterson and running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for over 3,000 yards from scrimmage.
On Wednesday, Saints future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees pointed to New Orleans’ trade of Peterson to Arizona as a turning point for the star rookie from Tennessee.
“I think there was pressure to find a role for A.P. and when we acquired A.P. we didn’t realize we were going to draft Kamara and even when we drafted Kamara, we didn’t know what we had in him yet,” Brees said on a conference call with the Twin Cities media. “We’ve learned a lot about ourselves as we’ve gone along here from Week 1. I think what we’ve found was, we were trying to find touches for Adrian, yet that was taking touches from Mark and maybe stunting the growth of Kamara a little bit. When that trade happened, I think it was best for A.P. It gave him an opportunity elsewhere and it also kind of opened up the offense to be taken over by Mark and Kamara.”
During his time with New Orleans, Peterson rushed the ball just 27 times for 81 yards in four games. Kamara finished the season with 728 yards rushing and 81 catches, 645 and 61, respective, of which came after Peterson’s departure.
Ingram and Kamara, who was a third-round draft pick, have become the centerpiece of a Saints offense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in yards per play. Ingram carried the ball more often at 230 rushes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns but he also added 58 receptions.
“I think they have been awesome,” Brees said. “The compliment between the two of them, both of them can do everything in this offense. Both of them can handle whatever we put on their plate. They are so versatile and they’re both really intelligent guys that have that type of skill set. Really lucky to have both of them. The way that we use the two of them throughout the course of the game, whether it be individually or both of them out there at the same time, it provides a great one-two punch.”