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Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson: Trade ideal but not per request

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Stephen A. likes Peterson trade to Arizona (0:34)

Stephen A. Smith explains that the Cardinals have the worst rushing attack in the NFL and Adrian Peterson is an upgrade. (0:34)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Adrian Peterson's prayers were answered at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

He was on a conference call with his wife, Ashley, when his phone began ringing and lighting up with text messages, informing him that he was traded from the New Orleans Saints to the Arizona Cardinals. He began searching social media and then turned on the TV to see the breaking news splashed across the screen. He got excited.

"It was like, 'Thank you, Jesus,'" Peterson said. "He answers prayers."

In his first news conference as a member of the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday, Peterson said he didn't push to get traded from the Saints, nor did he ask for a trade, but he was looking to get out of New Orleans.

"I'll be lying to you to say that I didn't want a change of scenery after four weeks of seeing how things played out," Peterson said. "So, yeah, it was something that I was praying about -- 'Hey, God, I need you to answer this prayer for me. Are you listening to me?' But in the midst of that, I was still tuned in and locked in.

"I had a great day of practice Monday, great day of practice. It was hot, too. It was outside. It was a good day. It was rough, but I was still locked in and taking care of my business, and the prayer was answered."

Peterson, 32, said he enjoyed his "wonderful experience" in the city of New Orleans. He heaped praise on the people of New Orleans, Metairie and Kenner, Louisiana, and said the Saints' fan base was "great" and the organization "from the top to the bottom was awesome."

He was, however, "unsettled" with his role.

Peterson said he met every Tuesday with Saints coach Sean Payton to have a "conversation." Peterson started one of four games in New Orleans and ran for 81 yards on 27 carries, which put him on pace for a career low of 324 yards in a full 16-game season.

"It was unfortunate when you have three backs in that system, but what they asked from a running back, we all could do," Peterson said. "Mark [Ingram] could've did it well. The young guy was someone they were intrigued about, so he pretty much got the role."

With the Cardinals, Peterson will be the featured back. He practiced Wednesday, when the Cardinals held a walk-through in preparation for Wednesday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"He practiced everything," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.

Arians added that Peterson will "be ready to go" Sunday.

Asked what he saw out of Peterson on Wednesday, quarterback Carson Palmer showed off his dry humor.

"He looked good walking," Palmer said.

Becoming a team's primary option in the backfield comes with a level of respect from the franchise, Peterson said.

"It shows that you're appreciated," he said. "Someone in the organization believes in you and what you're able to do."

Arians said the trade came to fruition after he and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim discussed pursuing Peterson and decided to see if acquiring him was a possibility. The Cardinals have been seeking for ways to improve a running game that's last in the NFL in total yards and yards per carry. Peterson could be part of the answer.

On film, Arians said he saw a "violent runner who still has it."

"He's not 22 anymore, but he still pours it up in there and is very exciting," Arians said.

Peterson, who played three games last season, his last with the Minnesota Vikings, because of an LCL injury, last ran for 1,000 yards in 2015 when he had 1,485 yards. He has had seven 1,000-yard seasons, including 2,097 in 2012.

But Peterson believes he can still run at a high level at his age.

"I have so much left," he said. "I look to play four to five more years, God willing," he said. "I have a lot left in the tank. Stay tuned. Stay tuned and you guys will be able to see that firsthand."