Adrian Peterson eager to become more involved in Vikings’ passing game
Adrian Peterson may be hands-down the most talented and powerful running backs of his generation — and arguably any other — he certainly is not the most complete back. His ineffectiveness in picking up blitzes combined with his lack of production in the passing game has meant Peterson routinely has been pulled off the field in third down situations.
During his seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson has amassed an absurd 10,115 rushing yards on 2,033 carries, good for a superb 5.0 per carry average.
However, despite how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands, Peterson has only 206 receptions for 1,697 yards and five touchdowns during his career. He has whopping 86 touchdowns in that same span.
Peterson believes that with Norv Turner taking the reins of Minnesota’s offense, there will be many more opportunities for him to catch passes in the new offensive coordinator’s system. He needn’t look any further than the productivity running backs have enjoyed in the passing game anywhere Turner has coached, in particular how much of a threat LaDainian Tomlinson was out of the backfield in the passing gamewhen Turner was calling the shots with the San Diego Chargers.
That’s why Peterson, addressing the issue as the Vikings finished up a three-day optional minicamp on Thursday, expects to be more involved in the passing game in the coming season. And he’s pretty excited about it.
“I’m definitely going to be involved more in the passing game,” Peterson said, via the Star Tribune. “They would always find a way to get the running back out in space. So I knew once we hired him that would be something that would be new for me. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Peterson also said he is eager to prove the naysayer wrong who believe he is a below average receiver.
I’ve been in the league for eight years and I’ve caught all the passes,” he insisted.
Peterson added that catching the ball out of the backfield may help the wear and tear on his body that’s caused by pounding the ball up the middle between the tackles against eight, sometime nine-man fronts. And he’s willing to make that adjustment, even if that means his rushing productivity may take a bit of a dip.
“The rushing yards might not be up to par, but it’s not about that,” he said. “I’m trying to win a championship, so if that’s taking less of a pounding and being more productive in the passing game, I’m all in for it.”
Peterson said he wouldn’t mind being targeted for “eight to ten” passes a game. The Vikings should take him up on that number. Any time Minnesota can get the ball in Peterson’s hands in the open field while at the same time limiting the beating an aggressive running back like Peterson takes in his stubborn refusal to go down, so much the better.