The New Orleans Saints and free-agent running back Adrian Peterson are negotiating a contract, sources told ESPN’s Field Yates.
Talks between the two sides progressed over the weekend, but no deal is done, sources said.
Peterson, who turned 32 last month, became a free agent when the Minnesota Vikings decided not to pick up their $18 million option on him.
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 timeshare. Hightower produced 100-yard games in each of the past two years while Ingram was either injured or temporarily benched. Peterson could possibly take on an even bigger role. Coach Sean Payton’s offensive creativity was likely a draw for him, as is the proximity to his hometown in the Houston area.
Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, spent his first 10 seasons with the Vikings and 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.
ESPN’s Ben Goessling contributed to this report.