Rebuilding the Vikings: Running Back
In the next installment of “Rebuilding the Vikings”, we take a look at the running back position. This may be one of the few spots on the team that is set, other than the injury concerns with Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart.
Franchise cornerstone Adrian Peterson, fresh off a very hefty contract extension, suffered a severe knee injury late in the season and is rehabbing extensively in hopes of being back for the start of the upcoming season. There are many concerns that have arisen about his ability to be an effective initially coming off of the surgery. He will need protection in order to make sure he doesn’t come back too quickly and can be effective late in the season.
Backup Toby Gerhart also hurt his knee late in the year but should be ready to go when the season starts and could carry the load early on if necessary.
The Vikings also have Percy Harvin on the roster who can also get snaps in the backfield occasionally for a change of pace. And with so many glaring holes scattered throughout the roster, having one spot that is seemingly set is a sigh of relief for the front office.
But for the sake of hashing out the roster, let’s look at the depth chart:
Peterson: Peterson is the Franchise player and not even a knee surgery can take that away from him. While he may not be as effective early on as he usually is, there is nothing to suggest he can’t get back to the elite level he has had ever since he came into the league. All Peterson needs to get back to that level is time, and protection from the other two on this list.
Gerhart: Gerhart provided a serviceable backup for Peterson after his knee injury. Although he doesn’t possess the side to side speed and explosiveness Peterson has, Gerhart is a bruiser running straight up field. If he can hit the holes the offensive line creates, his size makes him tough to tackle. Gerhart also possesses great hands and is a good pass blocker.
Harvin: Harvin may be the quickest of the three on this list. And while his primary position is wide receiver, he was a running back all throughout college and is given snaps occasionally to take advantage of his speed. If Peterson misses time to start the season, Harvin will almost assuredly backup Gerhart when he needs a rest.
Between these three players, that should be enough for the Vikings to get through the season and also continue to be one of the top rushing teams in the league, provided they upgrade the offensive line. Barring any unforeseen injuries, the running back position should continue to be a strength for the next several years.
Next up I will take a look at the wide receiver position.