The Adrian Peterson era in New Orleans has already come to an end, after just four games, totaling 85 yards and no touchdowns. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals today. Arizona is without David Johnson and already got Chris Johnson to come out of retirement, Johnson and Kerwynn Williams have both averaged under 2.5 yards per carry and Andre Ellington is a receiving back so I don’t think Arizona makes this move unless Peterson will fill the short-yardage/goal-line/between-the-tackles role and get at least 12 carries a game.
Peterson’s short-lived stint in a different locale, though, isn’t unique. Here’s a list of some other names that went to places you have probably forgotten. I’m not talking Emmitt Smith or Edgerrin James to the Cardinals here. Those guys were starters for multiple years. These are the truly forgettable cameos.
Each of these running backs had at least three different seasons with 1400 yards from scrimmage in their NFL careers, and had a “cup of coffee” with another franchise at the end of the their careers, where they totaled less than 300 yards from scrimmage. [all research via Pro Football Reference.]
Eric Dickerson: Best known for playing with the Rams and Colts, Dickerson also played one year with the Raiders. But most people forget that he ended his career with the Atlanta Falcons. He had 91 rushing yards in 4 games in 1993 in Atlanta.
Thurman Thomas: After 12 years in Buffalo, Thomas went to Miami for one season and had 253 yards from scrimmage in 9 games.
Shaun Alexander: After injuries in Seattle in 2005 and 2006, Alexander played a few games in Washington at age 31, managing 24 rushing yards on 11 carries in 4 games.
Steven Jackson: Congratulations if you remember that Jackson played two games with the Patriots in 2015, totaling 70 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.
Stephen Davis: Davis actually ended his career as a backup with the Rams for one season, with 267 yards from scrimmage in 15 games.
Arian Foster: This one was recent enough that we will remember Foster lasting 4 games before suffering another injury with the Dolphins in 2016. He had 133 yards in those games.
Charlie Garner: Garner signed with old coach Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay in 2004 and made it through 3 games, totaling 173 yards.
Terry Allen: Allen showed up on the Patriots and provided a replacement for Robert Edwards in 1999. Like Peterson, he then signed with the Saints at age 32, playing only 4 games as Ricky Williams’ backup and finishing with 186 yards. He returned again the next year to play for Baltimore when Jamal Lewis suffered a preseason knee injury and had 700 yards in his final season.
James Brooks: Brooks played for both Cleveland and Tampa Bay in 1992, adding only 43 yards in 6 games combined with the two franchises.
Joe Cribbs: The former Buffalo great played two more seasons with San Francisco, then ended his career in 1988 by playing with both the Colts and Dolphins, primarily as a kick returner while adding 21 yards from scrimmage.
Chuck Foreman: Foreman, the Vikings’ star of the 1970’s, finished his career in New England in 1980 wearing #22, and finishing with 162 yards.
Maurice Jones-Drew: Jones-Drew went to Oakland for one ill-fated year, finishing with 167 yards.
Lawrence McCutcheon: McCutcheon made 5 straight pro bowls for the Los Angeles Rams from 1973 to 1977. He actually holds the distinction of having less than 300 yards with three other franchises, as between the 1980 and 1981 seasons he spent time with Denver (6 games-64 yards), Seattle (8 games-266 yards), and Buffalo (6 games-177 yards).
Lydell Mitchell: One of the premiere receiving backs of his era (5 straight seasons of 500+ receiving yards), Mitchell closed his career with two games with the Rams in 1980, finishing with 37 total yards.
Mike Pruitt: In a sign of hope for Peterson (sort of), Pruitt signed with Buffalo in 1985 and only had 24 yards in 4 games. He was then traded to Kansas City where he put up over 900 yards in two seasons as a platoon back.
Curt Warner: The Seattle star played 7 games with the Los Angeles Rams in 1990, finishing with 139 yards.