The new orleans Saints made a lot of noise this offseason when they signed Adrian Peterson to join Drew Brees in one of the most explosive offenses in the entire NFL. However, the one thing most people weren’t talking about was Mark Ingram. That did not go unnoticed by the former Heisman Trophy winner, who said that he has always looked up to Peterson but was in camp this year to prove that he should be the starter and not AD.

Mark Ingram has become a star

Mark Ingram has possibly been disrespected since entering the NFL. He was a former Heisman Trophy winner but wasn’t drafted until the 28th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

After that, he wasn’t used as a starter. In his rookie year, he played behind Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. He took more of a lead role in 2012 but still split carries with Pierre Thomas and finished with a yardage average below 4.0.

That meant that Pierre Thomas took over the main role the next season but then Thomas was gone. In 2014, it was time for Mark Ingram to prove himself. He had his best season, with 964 rushing yards and nine touchdowns and then fell back somewhat in 2015 with just 769 yards and six touchdowns. In 2015, there were conflicts with his coaches and Ingram found himself benched on more than one occasion as journeyman Tim Hightower got into the mix.

However, in 2016, Mark Ingram finally stepped up and had his first 1,000-yard rushing season.

His average-per-carry was a career high 5.1 yards and he ran for six touchdowns. He also caught 57 passes for another 319 yards and four touchdowns. Ingram finally proved he was worthy of the starting position. So, what did the New Orleans Saints do? They signed Adrian Peterson.

Ingram impresses in training camp

Mark Ingram entered the 2017 New Orleans Saints training camp with a chip on his shoulder.

When he believes he earned the starting spot with the Saints, the team went out and signed one of the best running backs of the modern era. Ingram has made sure to make himself noticed this training camp. While Peterson is running at a steady pace and saving himself for the regular season, Ingram is working hard to show he belongs.

One area that Mark Ingram is really impressing the New Orleans Saints coaches is his work on pass plays. Ingram has been catching a lot of passes and turning them into big yardage gains in practice. While Adrian Peterson is a pure running back, Ingram is carving out his notch as someone that Drew Brees can throw the ball to and that is hugely important in a pass-first offense. Ingram wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson and while he might find AD overshadowing him, he can make his case on the field in 2017.