Speed back could be on Vikings' draft list

Adrian Peterson (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)

The Vikings have signed a number of blockers in free agency, but they have yet to add a speedy running back in reserve if Adrian Peterson isn't ready to go. That could happen in the draft.

The Vikings have spent the majority of the 2012 free-agent signing period bringing in players whose job is largely tied up in blocking, not making 80-yard touchdown plays. The big signing was tight end John Carlson. The other outside offensive free-agent signings have been two fullbacks (Jerome Felton and Lex Hilliard) and a guard (Geoff Schwartz).

It doesn't take a reading of tea leaves by an "expert" in the field to draw the conclusion that the Vikings are heading into the 2012 season unconvinced they're going to have Adrian Peterson at 100 percent. If any running back can come back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament with a vengeance and furious anger, it's A.D. But, this is a business run by "what have you done for me lately?" types.

As a result, the Vikings could be looking for a home-run running back in the draft – whether to be a Dave Meggett/Sproles hybrid or potentially the Mercury Morris to Toby Gerhart's Larry Csonka. Gerhart did a solid job in replacing Peterson when he suffered his torn knee against the Redskins and in weeks prior. But, unfortunately for Gerhart, Vikings fans had become spoiled by Peterson's penchant for turning nothing into a big-time something – running a play designed to go left and, with nothing there, turning right and busting a long one. Gerhart can earn every dollar he's being paid, but he is what he is – a player who makes his money three, four and five yards at a time. He's not going to be a home run threat capable of taking any carry to the house. If the Vikings aren't convinced that Peterson will be back at 100 percent by the start of the 2012 regular season, making a move in the draft to bring in a speed back might be in the cards a month from now.

Some names for fans to study up on over the next few weeks – David Wilson of Virginia Tech, LaMichael James of Oregon, Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati, Ronnie Hillman of San Diego State and Chris Rainey of Florida. By the time the draft is over, one of them may be a new member of the Vikings.

The team may have more immediate pressing needs at wide receiver, offensive tackle, middle linebacker and the secondary, but, unless the team is sure Peterson will back – which at this time is a near-impossibility – don't be stunned to see running back move up on the team's priority list on draft weekend. It may not come early in the draft, but you can bet that, at some point earlier than later, running back may be on the Vikings' shopping list draft weekend.


  • The Minneapolis City Council cleared one big hurdle in the stadium debate by providing the state with letters of support from a majority of council members for the Vikings stadium bill. With that significant hurdle cleared, the onus is now back where it has been for years – getting approval from the State Legislature. It has delayed and denied to get a stadium deal done and sent the Vikings on a wild goose chase of finding a stadium site and a local partner. The Vikings have completed their part of that equation. Now it's up to the legislators to bring the deal home, which has always been the main stumbling block to getting a stadium deal completed. There are no more excuses or hurdles the state can put in front of the Vikings anymore. Now it's up to legislature.

  • The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the Vikings made a legitimate offer to try to land wide receiver Pierre Garcon, but he signed on with the Redskins, who came up with a five-year, $42.5 million offer to land the former Colts playmaker.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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