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Cardinals hope Adrian Peterson is ‘boost’ to turn season around

New Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson answers a question during an NFL football news conference at the team's training facility Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – For the better part of Adrian Peterson’s 10-year NFL career, he’s been one of, if not the, best running back in the league.

A former MVP, seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, Peterson leads the NFL in rushing yards (11,828), rushing touchdowns (97) and 100-yard rushing games (49) since entering the league back in 2007.

And at the age of 32, Peterson believes he has “a lot left in the tank, so stay tuned and you’ll guys will be able to see first-hand.”

The Arizona Cardinals hope that’s the case.

Coming off a 27-point loss at Philadelphia that dropped them below .500 for the third time this season, the Cardinals need help. And the addition of Peterson, acquired from New Orleans for a conditional 2018 draft pick, could be exactly the boost the team needs.

“I would hope so,” head coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday. “You bring on a guy who’s got a resume. You would think it would be an energy boost in the locker room. But you’d have to ask them.”

OK, let’s ask them.

“If you sign a future Hall of Famer, there’s always a little pep in everybody’s step, I would think,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “I’m excited. Been a fan of his for a long time, and now to have him on our team is exciting.”

“He’s going to help us win games, hopefully. That’s why we brought him here,” safety Tyvon Branch said. “I’m excited to see him get out there and run the football. He’s one of those guys, he’s excited to watch once he gets going. Hopefully, he can help us turn some things around.”

Especially in the running game, an area of the Cardinals’ offense that has been virtually nonexistent.

Through five games, the Cardinals rank dead last in all three major rushing categories: yards per attempt (2.6), yards per game (51.8) and total yards (259).

“I’ve always looked up to Adrian Peterson,” said running back David Johnson, whose injury Week 1 has had a crippling effect on the team’s ground attack. “He’s one of the guys that I grew up watching just because he’s Midwest, he played for the Vikings, so it’s cool to have him on the team, as well.”

So what was it like for Johnson when Peterson walked into the Cardinals locker room?

“It was a humbling moment,” he said, “just because he’s one of my idols. It’s going to be cool to pick his brain and learn from him.”

Of course, the most excited among Cardinals players when news of the Peterson trade broke Tuesday had to have been wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He and Peterson have been good friends for a long time.

“He was like, ‘Hey, you’re staying in my guest house.’ ‘Ok, no questions asked. I’ll be there later on today,’” Peterson said, smiling. “I’ve been knowing Larry for a long time (and) I’ve never heard the excitement in his voice that I heard when he called. It felt good to kind of hear that from him, from a good friend. He knows what I’m been going through. He was just excited for me, excited for me coming to join the team. He’s making the transition for me a lot easier.”

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