But the guy who will be sharing the backfield with Peterson has insisted that he’ll keep being the same old Mark Ingram.
“It doesn't matter who's in the backfield with me, who I'm competing with, I'm always going to give my 100 percent all,” Ingram said Sunday, when asked if Peterson’s arrival has stoked his competitive fire a bit. “I respect him and everything he's done. He's still a great player; he's overcome a lot of adversity. But at the end of the day, I'm going to compete, no matter who it is. Not afraid of competition, no matter how high on the totem pole they are. I'm always going to compete, I'm always going to give my best.”
We should get our first glimpse of the two alpha-backs on the practice field at the same time during this week’s veteran minicamp.
Ingram was sidelined for the first two weeks of OTA practices with an unspecified ailment before he returned to the field last week.
“They were just letting me rest a little bit,” he explained. “When we were working out, I had been working out and had a couple things that were bothering me, so they let me get it right.”
Then when Ingram returned, Peterson was given a week of rest. But coach Sean Payton said Peterson will be back for the three-day minicamp.
Ingram said the working relationship has been good so far.
“We help each other,” said Ingram, who spoke Sunday after performing in a charity lip-sync battle. “He's new to the system, so I can help him with some play calls and small nuances within the offense. And he's an elite runner, one of the best that we've seen in this game. So just to see how he runs, how he practices, makes us all better.”
Ingram said he first met Peterson when Ingram was in college at Alabama, and he has “followed him forever.”
“But just to be there in the same room with him, pick his brain, see how he practices, see how he works, that's pretty cool,” Ingram said. “He's a Hall of Fame player, he's been practicing good, he's looking fast, looking good. So [we’ll] just keep practicing, keep getting better, and hopefully it translates good to the season."