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Saints trade RB Adrian Peterson to Cardinals

Salvaging a potential free agency disaster, the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday traded future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals.

The two teams announced the trade Tuesday, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports the Cardinals are sending the Saints a conditional 2018 sixth-rounder in the deal.

"I'm so ecstatic," Peterson texted NFL Network's Stacey Dales following the trade.

Peterson, who has just 27 carries for 81 yards over his first four games with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, will now get a chance to play the featured role he always saw himself best suited for. Down David Johnson, the Arizona Cardinals are desperate for a spark on the ground.

"We are always on the lookout for opportunities to improve our team and we look at this as one of those opportunities," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said in a statement provided by the team. "What Adrian has accomplished in this league is well-established. Our need for a spark in our running game right now is also obvious and we are excited to give him the chance to provide that."

The move joins the 32-year-old with the NFL's oldest roster. Carson Palmer (38) and Larry Fitzgerald (34) are among the team's most dependable weapons at the moment. The Cardinals were heavily mentioned as a potential destination for Peterson when it was obvious the running back's tenure was coming to an end in Minnesota.

Running back Chris Johnsonhas been released following the trade, the team announced.

It was clear from the Saints' first game that Peterson was not going to fit with Payton's versatile, high-flying offense. Rookie Alvin Kamara is far closer to the Darren Sproles hybrid that makes the most sense in the pass-heavy scheme.

Peterson, typically best with the quarterback under center in an I-formation or traditional single-back, might have found his match with the old school Bruce Arians.

The move frees the seven-time Pro Bowler but puts him behind an offensive line that has struggled to date. No Cardinals back is averaging more than four yards per carry. At least one analytic grading service -- Pro Football Focus -- rated all five of Arizona's current starters in their lowest category.

Peterson did not shy away from his unhappiness in New Orleans. He was seen on the sideline lobbying Payton to utilize the ground game during a Week 1 nationally televised game. He mentioned that the amount of carries he was receiving was not what he signed up for. His final game as a Saint in London yielded four carries for four yards in a 20-0 win over the Dolphins.

His third NFL team could give the rest of the league a glimpse at the future. For years, Peterson has defied expectations for an aging running back but seems to have settled back down to earth. He rushed back from a serious knee injury last year in Minnesota but did not have the same rampaging style that defined his early career.

Might a glimpse of the old Peterson return in Arizona?

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