Adrian Peterson latest star RB to join Cardinals in twilight of career

Cardinals add Peterson to improve run game (0:40)

The Arizona Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson with hopes of rejuvenating their offense, which is averaging an NFL-worst 2.6 yards per rush. (0:40)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona is one of the places in this country where people go after they finish their careers to live out their golden years.

It has also become a destination for running backs past their heyday to finish out their careers.

Adrian Peterson became the most recent former rushing champion to join the Arizona Cardinals in the twilight of his career when he was traded to Arizona on Tuesday. Chris Johnson -- who was released Tuesday to open a roster spot for Peterson -- Emmitt Smith and Edgerrin James have all played for Arizona since 2003.

It was the last stop of Smith's illustrious career. James spent three seasons in Arizona after a productive career with the Colts. It's still yet to be seen what is next for both Johnson and Peterson.

Could Arizona be their last stops before retirement? Perhaps. The three former top running backs to come to Arizona before Peterson all had at least one big year with the Cardinals before tailing off.

Smith signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals in 2003 at age 34. A year later he turned in 937 yards and nine touchdowns before retiring and starting the timer on his Hall of Fame induction.

In 2006, James signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals at 28 and picked up where he left off with the Colts. He ran for 1,159 yards and six touchdowns in 2006, and 1,222 yards and seven touchdowns in 2007. His numbers dipped in 2008 to 514 yards and three touchdowns but helped the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl. He was released after that season.

Johnson joined Arizona in 2015 at 30 years old as a backup to Andre Ellington. After Ellington was injured in the first game of the season, Johnson assumed the starting role and didn't relinquish it until a fractured tibia ended his season prematurely. He was the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher with 814 yards and three touchdowns when he got hurt. It was also the first time he missed a game for an injury.

Johnson got hurt again in Week 4 of 2016 when he suffered a groin injury that put him on injured reserve. He re-signed his third one-year deal with Arizona before training camp this year only to get cut in September and then re-signed after Week 1 before being released Tuesday.

Now there's Peterson.

He's 32 and appeared in four games for the New Orleans Saints this season, gaining 81 yards on 27 carries, after playing in just three games last year for the Minnesota Vikings as he dealt with an MCL injury. In his last full season, 2015, Peterson rushed for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He'll get his opportunity to continue his career in the desert, where golf courses and sunshine rule, and running backs come for one final shot at glory.