Adrian Peterson doing too much for the VikingsPosted: September 26, 2007
Adrian Peterson was supposed to be an integral part of the Vikings’ offense – just not this integral.
Three games into his rookie NFL season, Peterson’s contributions have far outpaced those of his counterparts:
— He has 64 of the team’s 89 rushing attempts.
— He has 271 of the team’s 385 rushing yards.
— He has two of the team’s three offensive touchdowns – one rushing, one receiving.
— He is the only Viking with more than 100 receiving yards. He has 160 on eight receptions; Bobby Wade has 96 on 10 receptions.
Many of his teammates agree: Peterson needs some help.
“He’s an unbelievable guy, but he can’t keep doing it all,” quarterback Kelly Holcomb said. “We have to step up in the passing game. (It’s) pretty incredible watching him, but he can’t last like that, either. He can’t last getting the ball that many times. In this league, I mean, I know he’s a young guy and he’s got a great physique, but it’s hard in this league to keep doing that. We’ve got to help him offensively.”
When the season began, coach Brad Childress planned on the offensive tandem of Chester Taylor and Peterson. Taylor and Peterson said that was the best way to go, but Taylor suffered a bruised oblique muscle in the first quarter of the season opener against Atlanta.
Childress said Monday that Taylor could return for Sunday’s game against Green Bay. If he isn’t ready, Peterson and Taylor would have to wait until at least Week 5 to share the workload. In the meantime, wide receivers Robert Ferguson and Wade and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe are ready to help out.
“That’s up to the coaches, but I’d love to catch a few balls and let him rest a little bit,” said Ferguson, who has three receptions for 29 yards this season, all coming in a Week 2 loss to Detroit.
“I don’t mind that at all. But he’s doing a wonderful job. I’m very impressed with him. I’ve been watching football for a long time, and it’s pretty safe to say that he’s one of the best running backs I’ve seen come around the NFL, not just here, but the NFL, in a long time. I enjoy watching him run, but maybe we can watch him run a little less and put it in the air.”
Shiancoe could prove to be one of the Vikings’ best options in the passing game. On Sunday at Kansas City, the tight end had a career-high 51 receiving yards, notched the longest catch of his career (25 yards) and matched his career high in receptions with three.
The Vikings signed Shiancoe to a five-year, $18.2 million deal in the offseason, and tight ends coach Jimmie Johnson said the team expects the 27-year-old to have “a big year.” The key now, Johnson said, is getting Shiancoe chances.
Against Atlanta, Shiancoe caught two passes for 18 yards. He didn’t have any receptions against Detroit.
“A whole lot of stuff has to come into play in order for him to get the ball,” Johnson said last week. “We’re excited about Shank because he’s very athletic. He’s got vertical speed to get up the field, and he’s got great hands. We’re just excited to have someone like that in our offense, working the middle of the field for us.
“I just think he needs to be put in a situation to make plays. If he just continues to work and don’t worry about what people think, he’ll be fine. We feel real confident as a staff that when he gets an opportunity to make plays, he will.
“People may say, ‘Oh, in the preseason, he didn’t catch that many balls, and he didn’t catch many in the first two games.’ But I know personally, I’m not concerned about that. It’s a long season, and he’s going to have more than enough opportunities before this season is over with to make plays.”
Peterson wasn’t on the field for Minnesota’s final possession against Kansas City on Sunday, but the rookie said it wasn’t because he was fatigued. Childress backed that up, saying he opted for Mewelde Moore’s experience.
Peterson, 22, said he isn’t worried about his workload, that his “body is telling me to bring it on,” and that he doesn’t feel any stress about carrying the offense until Taylor returns.
“We have some playmakers out there on the field,” Peterson said. “Basically, it’s just missed opportunities; it’s not like I’m carrying the load. It was a situation where we had little breakdowns that could have led to big plays. In the passing game, we just didn’t execute.”