Cardinals didn't release Chris Johnson to make Adrian Peterson a backup

Schefter breaks the news of Chris Johnson's release on NFL Live (0:35)

Adam Schefter gets a call while on NFL Live and reports that for the Cardinals are releasing Chris Johnson to make room for Adrian Peterson. (0:35)

BRISTOL, Conn. -- For a few hours Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals had two starting running backs.

That didn't last long. About 90 minutes after Arizona announced a trade to acquire running back Adrian Peterson, the Cardinals released Chris Johnson. Johnson, 32, who Arizona released during final cuts in September, was re-signed after Week 1 and started the past three weeks, rushing for 114 yards on 45 carries for an average of 2.53 yards per carry during his brief stint in Arizona this season.

His starting job will be filled by Peterson, a fellow 32-year-old, who rushed for 81 yards on 27 carries, an average of 3 yards per carry, during his short stint with the Saints. However, the rest of the Cardinals' depth chart will remain the same: Andre Ellington, Kerwynn Williams and Eli Penny.

A quick look at the team's four backs:

Peterson: The Cardinals wouldn't have released Johnson if they weren't planning on making Peterson the bell cow. He's started 117 out of 127 games in his career and he brings with him a wealth of experience. How effective he can still be at his age and behind Arizona's line is still yet to be seen, but he'll be given the chance to establish himself as the starter. However, if the Cardinals continue their current game plans, then most of his work will be on first and second down.

He has established himself as a consistent replacement for David Johnson in the passing game out of the backfield, especially on third down. Ellington has the second-most touches on third down with eight, of which seven are catches, tied for second-most on the team on third down. Arizona has ran nine times on third down with five coming from quarterback Carson Palmer.

Williams: After Johnson went down in Week 1, Williams was handed the starting job for Week 2 in Indianapolis, but he was replaced as the primary ball carrier by the third quarter. He had nine carries for 22 yards that game and has 19 carries for 32 yards on the season.

Penny: He has two touches on the season -- one rushing and one receiving. He's played 16 snaps all year.