With Adrian Peterson’s debut in Arizona going rather smoothly, the 32-year-old back has already begun to earn the respect of his teammates. After being traded by the New Orleans Saints over a week ago, Peterson’s first game with the Cardinals saw him rush for 134 yards and two touchdowns on the way to a victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The veteran back was brought in to help the ailing Cardinals who were, for the time being, suffering the lowest yards per carry average and lowest total rushing yards in the league. After Arizona’s star running back David Johnson went down in Week 1 with a broken wrist, the team struggled to find a steady replacement before trading for Peterson.

“I’ve never lost focus,” Peterson told reporters after the game. “I’ve always understood what God has blessed me with. Being able to come here and have the opportunity to display it, it was satisfying. It felt good.”

But his teammate Larry Fitzgerald was thinking even bigger after the contest, with the wide receiver pondering over what could’ve been if the two had been teammates beginning when Peterson entered the league in 2007.

“I wish he’d have been here 11 years from the beginning. I’d have a Super Bowl ring already,” Fitzgerald said following Peterson’s first game. “But having him here, his leadership, his demeanor in the huddle, I think it’s reinvigorating everybody.”

Even quarterback Carson Palmer stated that there was a new kind of energy in the building and on the field with the addition of Peterson in the lineup.

“You could feel it with the first drive,” he said. “You could feel it with the fans in the stadium. You could see it on the defense’s faces. Body language-wise, it was just a great lift for us.”

The struggling Cardinals, who sat at 3-3 after the game, are hoping that Peterson’s play-making abilities will help lift the team in the ground portion of the game. Originally, Arizona did have a shot to take the All-Pro running back with the fifth overall pick back in 2007, but instead chose an offensive lineman, allowing Peterson to be chosen by the Minnesota Vikings.

Larry Fitzgerald and his new teammate Adrian Peterson are two of the game’s best at their positions, but neither has been able to find much success on their respective teams. Now that they’re playing together, there’s still a chance that the veterans alongside QB Carson Palmer can make one final run at the Super Bowl, but for now, Arizona will have to begin playing a lot better.

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