Adrian Peterson May Take Back Seat To Gerhart To Start Season
After going down with a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus late last season, many doubted Peterson would be able to be active come Week 1. However, Peterson is way ahead of schedule; he beat Percy Harvin in a race nearly a month ago and is now able to make cuts on his injured knee. However, knees are not something you want to mess around with, especially with a running back.
After finishing in second place for the Heisman trophy during his last year at Stanford, Toby Gerhart was drafted to play one of the least important running back roles in the NFL: backing up who many believe is the league's most talented runner, Adrian Peterson. Gerhart has had limited carries since coming to the pros, but he's done well with what he's been given, averaging 4.5 yards per rushing attempt behind a weak offensive line. He's also managed to average 22.5 receptions per season in limited action. He's certainly no Adrian Peterson, but Gerhart should be a formidable backup should he need to carry the load.
However, the Vikings' offense is, well, not good to say the least. They have a young, raw quarterback behind center. They have limited weapons in the passing game. Their offensive line has diminished extremely quickly in the past couple of years. All they have to lean on is one man: Adrian "All Day" Peterson.
My guess is that Gerhart does come out of the gate handling the load, but that once the offense struggles and the freak of nature that is Adrian Peterson proves to the coaching staff that he's ready to pound the rock, his touches skyrocket quickly.
This is the kind of news that will definitely scare some people away from Peterson come fantasy draft day, but if he starts to drop way down the board, I say grab him. He's obviously far along in the recovery process and still has more than two months to get ready for game day. Definitely make a move for Gerhart as a handcuff before he comes off the board, because knees are risky business and a setback could always happen, but I think Peterson is too good and too valuable to the Vikings for him to sit back and watch Toby Gerhart take his carries away.
However, if you're interested in taking him, do yourself a favor and watch him play some preseason games. That should be a solid sign of whether or not he's in good form.