Peterson agrees to two-year deal with New Orleans

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s most productive running back for much of the past decade, has decided to head into the twilight of his career as a potential backup in New Orleans’ pass-happy offense.

The Saints on Tuesday came to terms on a two-year contract with Peterson, a 10-year veteran who has posted seven 1,000-yard seasons with Minnesota and once eclipsed 2,000 yards.

Saints coach Sean Payton said he envisions a productive role for Peterson, who is coming back from a 2016 meniscal tear that required season-ending knee surgery after only three games.

“It’s rare and unique to have the opportunity to add a (future) Hall of Fame player to your roster. His career has been top-notch,” Payton said in a statement provided by the club. “We think he will be an excellent fit in our locker room and in our offense.”

The agreement was first reported early Tuesday when Peterson provided a statement to ESPN.

“It goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skillset can make them even more dominant (offensively),” Peterson said in a statement. “They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well.”

Peterson, 32, has spent his entire NFL career with the Vikings, which happens to be the team against which the Saints open the 2017 regular season — in Minnesota.

“If there’s not enough excitement going into the first game of the season, obviously him coming back here provides even more,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said.

“I would assume he’ll have a warm welcome when he comes back here. He’s done so much for this organization and the Twin Cities. … I’m just glad I’m not on defense and don’t have to tackle him.”

Peterson joins a Saints backfield led by running back Mark Ingram, who is coming off one of his best seasons and is New Orleans’ incumbent starter. Ingram rushed for 1,043 yards in 2016 and made 46 catches out of the backfield, helping Brees lead the NFL in passing with 5,208 yards.

In his statement, Peterson didn’t seem concerned about how frequently he’d get the ball in the Saints’ system.

“I could tell from talking to head coach Sean Payton over the last two weeks that he did his due diligence in evaluating how I could contribute,” Peterson said.