Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs the ball at Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) in the second half of the game at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson to get the ball in space more often?

Minnesota Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson had another excellent season last year, and he will be even better next season with a better quarterback situation. It’s amazing thinking that Peterson was able to run for 1,266 yards and ten touchdowns with an average of 4.5 yards per carry while facing a nagging injury down the stretch, subpar blocking, and eight-men boxes due to horrific quarterback play. AP didn’t have it easy at all last season, but his ability to consistently move the chains and produce is the biggest reason why he is the league’s best running back.

Assuming the Vikings find an upgrade at the position in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Peterson should have an even better 2014 season. It’s going to be interesting to see if his rushing total is closer to what he had in 2012 or 2013, and it will also be interesting to see how often he is used in the passing game after only catching 40 passes in a season on two occasions.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press’s Chris Tomasson, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stated in an interview with ESPN that he would like to get AP in space more often and believes his star player gets hit too often, “Getting him the ball in space. I’m watching a game the other day and the two safeties just kept creeping closer and closer. This guy is getting hit a lot. He’s a fantastic runner. If we can get him space, he can do a lot of damage.’’

Norv Turner stated earlier this offseason that he would like to see the Vikings pass the ball more often to Peterson, and that could also help get him in space. But the best way to give him more room to operate and avoid cheating safeties and big hits is to pass the ball much more effectively.

Tags: Adrian Peterson Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings

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