Minnesota Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson is one of the last players in the league who needs preseason reps, especially since playing in the preseason increases wear-and-tear and leads to injury risk. The best running back in the league will continue to be the focal point of the Vikings offense, no matter who starts at the quarterback position. Plus, AD is headed for a bigger role in 2014, and while it seems weird to state that Peterson is going to be an even bigger part of the offense than he already is, new offensive coordinator Norv Turner plans on getting him more targets in the passing game. Those checkdown plays will be great for either Matt Cassel (the expected starter) or rookie Teddy Bridgewater, and it’s always good to give one of the best players in the game the ball in space more often.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Mark Craig, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer stated that the team won’t deviate from its plan to hold Peterson out of the entire preseason. This was always in the works, and Peterson didn’t play in either of the team’s first two preseason contests. We can pencil in Peterson on the “DNP” list for games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans, so he’ll be absolutely fresh for Week 1. AD had some nagging injuries last season that he slogged through before finally being held out, and he should be in for an even more productive season with improved blocking up front (Matt Kalil will round into health on the left side). Although AD didn’t have monster numbers, he was excellent.
Zimmer also praised Peterson for his work in pass protection and as a pass-catcher, which means that the Vikings are happy with how well he knows Turner’s offense (not that this was ever going to be a concern). All in all, it’s going to be especially exciting to watch Peterson this year, because the new offense should suit him well.