The Minnesota Vikings have stated at a few points this offseason that they are interested in giving superstar running back Adrian Peterson more opportunities as a pass-catcher next season in a new-look offense run by savvy coordinator Norv Turner. Peterson’s career-high for receptions came in 2009 when he hauled in 43 passes, and he’s only hit 40 on one other occasion. Last season, AP caught a meager 29 receptions, but it’s worth noting that he averaged an impressive 10.1 yards per catch back in 2009; he has some positive past production when called upon.
It looks like the Vikings are very serious about harnessing Peterson’s potential on passing plays, as head coach Mike Zimmer took the time to praise the work the Oklahoma product has put in as a receiver out of the backfield in offseason workouts. He said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Master Tesfatsion, “I think I’ve seen him drop one ball the whole time.”
We’ll see how often Peterson is used in this capacity, but I hope he has a chance to clear 50 receptions and head into 60-70 territory, because it will help the offense. Even though they already have impressive pass-catchers like Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, and second-year playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson, all three quarterbacks are accurate on checkdowns and could use a safety valve at RB with Peterson’s talent. I mean, his running should translate to plenty of YAC as well, but the Vikings should be worried about overworking him a la the Houston Texans with Arian Foster (or other famous, less recent examples).