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Opponent Breakdown: Peterson's Impact on the Cardinals' Offense

BAGSHOT, Surrey, England — As division rivals, the Rams and Cardinals know each other's personnel pretty well. Quarterback Carson Palmer has been with Arizona since head coach Bruce Arians arrived in 2013. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has seemingly played forever, now in his 14th pro season.

But Arizona has one new offensive weapon, and he certainly has made an impact in just a short time with the club: running back Adrian Peterson.

With star running back David Johnson on injured reserve, the Cardinals sent a conditional sixth-round pick to the Saints on Oct. 10 to acquire Peterson. Arizona received an immediate return on the deal, as Peterson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' 38-33 victory over the Buccaneers last week.

Rams head coach Sean McVay said this week that he thinks Peterson's performance "gave their offense as a whole and, really, their team a bunch of juice."

"One of the things that you've always been impressed with him is his patience to the line and then when he makes a decision, he can explode and accelerate in and out of cuts," McVay said. "He can go through you, he can make you miss, so he showed those things."

"He just adds a different dynamic to their offensive scheme," middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "They pretty much do the same stuff, but having him [they're] basically saying, 'My athlete is better than yours.' So you have to win your one-on-one matchups and be able to tackle."

Though Peterson turned 32 in March, he's still showing the burst and explosion that's made him one of the best in league history to ever play the position.

"He's the top of the food chain," Rams running back Todd Gurley said. "He's the best of the best. He's been doing this a while. Nothing but respect for him."

"He's a great back and you could tell that he still has a lot to offer to the table. And he's in a great situation out there in Arizona," Ogletree said. "They just turned around and handed it to him and let him do what he does. I don't think he got a chance to really do much of that in New Orleans, so Arizona — that's what they like to do. And he's a great back for them to do that with."

The Rams are plenty familiar with Peterson, as he's faced the team four times in his career, with varying degrees of success. The club last opposed the running back in 2015, when Peterson rushed for 125 yards on 29 carries. Defensive lineman Michael Brockers also referenced the 2012 matchup with Minnesota, where Peterson gained 212 yards on 24 carries.

"Man when you have the name 'All Day' as your nickname, it's kind of hard to back that up — and he can give it to you all day," Brockers said. "I have been a part of that game where he has had 200 yards and you just can't stop him. So we just have to get him before he gets started, get him in the backfield, get tackles for loss, and mess up their rhythm."

Squaring off against Peterson will undoubtedly be a challenge, but it's one the Rams are embracing.

"It definitely makes it more fun," Ogletree said. "As a defense you go out there and you want to stop the best. He's one of the best to play this game. Like I said, with a great week of preparation I think we'll be ready for him for sure."

"When you are facing a good back like this and you know the challenge is on you to stop him, it's always, you know we love a challenge," Brockers said. "We love to hear that this is a good running game and they are coming in to smash mouth and play real football. We accept that, we love those challenges and we're looking forward to this game, it's a divisional game. They know us, we know them, they don't like us very much, we don't like them very much. It's going to be an all out war."

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