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Saints Sign Adrian Peterson To 2 Years $7 Million

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  • Saints Sign Adrian Peterson To 2 Years $7 Million

    Adrian Peterson signs deal with New Orleans Saints

    All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson has signed a deal with the New Orleans Saints after spending the first 10 years of his career with the Minnesota Vikings.

    Saints coach Sean Payton said that Peterson would share backfield duties with running back Mark Ingram.

    "I think the role will be very clear and defined," Payton told reporters Tuesday from the Zurich Classic Celebrity Shootout at TPC Louisiana. "It's a tough, long 16-week season. I think that he's someone that certainly will be able to complement Mark. Those guys are different in some ways, and yet we feel like we've added another quality player.

    "It goes without saying, (Peterson is) a guy that eventually is going to be in the Hall of Fame. But I think -- we think -- that he's got more years in his career, so we're excited for that to happen."

    Ingram said he had no problem with the idea of sharing the ball.

    "Listen, man. It's nothing new," Ingram said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday night. "I've been sharing the ball with one or two or maybe even three guys since I got here. I figured we was gonna draft somebody or get somebody in free agency. ... I don't care who comes in, where I'm at, who I'm playing with, I'm always gonna compete."

    Ingram said he has followed Peterson since he was a freshman at Oklahoma and that he is a big fan of the All-Pro.

    "I admire his running style," Ingram said. "I admire everything he's been through, the adversity he's overcome in knee injuries, having some 1,000-yard seasons, being a perennial leading rusher. The résumé, the name speaks for itself. And just having the opportunity to be in the same running back room with that guy, pick his brain, learn from him is only gonna make me better."

    Peterson told ESPN's Josina Anderson that the two-year deal is worth $7 million. Peterson said he has agreed to 2017 compensation of $3.5 million (all guaranteed at signing), which includes a $1 million guaranteed salary in 2017 and a $2.5 million signing bonus.

    The maximum incentives package is $8.25 million, and whatever incentives are reached in 2017 get added to the per-game roster bonuses in 2018.

    The 2018 compensation is $3.5 million, none of which is guaranteed. It includes $2.4 million in total roster bonuses (which includes a $750,000 roster bonus earned on the third day of free agency plus $1.65 million in per-game roster bonuses), a $1.05 million salary and a $50,000 workout bonus.

    "I am excited to be joining the New Orleans Saints," Peterson told Anderson. "I'm really looking forward to this opportunity. Most importantly, I chose this team because it just felt right within my spirit. Additionally, my wife and family added their confirmation with the same feelings.

    "On offense, it goes without saying that the Saints are really solid behind Drew Brees. I feel like my skill set can make them even more dominant as a unit. They have a great offensive line, which is something that stood out to me as well. 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. I also did a lot of homework on the defense as well. While I know that injuries have played a role in performance, I also see areas of potential with a lot of younger guys having the ability to step up. Lastly, it goes without saying that the Saints have an amazing fan base and I look forward to making them proud and creating everlasting memories."

    Peterson, who turned 32 last month, became a free agent when the Vikings decided not to pick up their $18 million option on him.

    Peterson now gets an immediate chance to play against his former team. The Saints visit the Vikings in Week 1 as part of ESPN's Monday Night Football doubleheader.

    Peterson had also visited with the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks while looking for the right spot to continue his Hall of Fame career.

    The Saints have a No. 1 running back in Mark Ingram, who is 27 years old and under contract for two more years. They need depth after allowing veteran backup Tim Hightower to become a free agent. He signed with the San Francisco 49ers last week.

    At times, the Saints used Ingram and Hightower in a 1A/1B time-share. Hightower produced only one 100-yard game in each of the past two years while Ingram was either injured or temporarily benched. Peterson could possibly take on an even bigger role. Payton's offensive creativity was likely a draw for him, as was the proximity to his hometown in the Houston area.

    Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, ranks 16th in NFL history with 11,747 rushing yards. He posted a message on social media last month insisting that his decision won't be about money and that his main objective is "finding the best fit and helping a team in a major way win a championship."

    Peterson played just three games last season because of a torn meniscus suffered on Sept. 18. He returned in less than three months from his injury to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 18. However, he sat out the Vikings' final two games because of an adductor strain he suffered in his first game back. He finished the season with 72 yards on 37 carries.

    Peterson, whose career rushing yards rank second to Frank Gore among active players, has failed to eclipse 40 carries in two of the past three seasons because of suspension and injuries, but he led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards in 2015.

    Since recovering from ACL reconstruction on his left knee to rush for 2,097 yards in 2012 and win the MVP, Peterson has defied the evidence that running backs wear down by age 30. He has long said he believes he can play deep into his 30s.