Adrian Peterson hit the topic head-on like a defensive back trying to keep him contained. Last year’s offense was predictable, the Minnesota Vikings star running back admitted.
“Not taking anything away from the coaches we had before, but being more versatile in the offense, let’s call it what it is: I thought in the past, we’ve been predictable,” Peterson said after the team’s Monday morning walk-through. “I’m sure you guys wrote stories about us being predictable the past seven years. You won’t be able to write that story this year. That’s pretty much all I’m saying: You won’t be able to do that, because this offense is so versatile.”
With a change in head coach, from Leslie Frazier to Mike Zimmer, also came a change in offensive coordinator, from Bill Musgrave to Norv Turner.
Throughout the offseason, the Vikings have talked about using Peterson in different ways, trying to get him more involved in the passing game and creating opportunities for him without so many defenders around him.
“This is what I’ve been looking for for the past seven years,” he said. “I feel we have an offense that fits our talent that we have, an offense that fits the players at their position. I’m pretty excited about what Norv Turner has been putting in for us, and presenting a lot of guys with opportunities to make plays and be more versatile. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Peterson won’t get the opportunity to show how he fits in much during the preseason. Zimmer said Peterson won’t get many opportunities in the preseason and won’t be used in the goal-line portion of Monday night’s fully padded practice.
Zimmer has seen plenty of Peterson on film, but he’s been even more impressed witnessing his athleticism in person.
“Adrian, he’s been good in everything,” Zimmer said. “I told somebody yesterday, ‘This guy’s not 30 years old, there’s no way.’ Because he made some great cuts and some outstanding runs that impressed me, and I’ve watched him on tape for many, many years. They impressed me even more. The thing that Adrian is also doing is, at least from what I can tell, he likes the direction where things are going, he likes the attitude that Norv brings, the attitude that the football team, I think the discipline that everything is going this way.”
Peterson said he hasn’t been told what his preseason role would be, but the lack of action for him during that four-game run-up to the regular season isn’t that important to him.
“That’s why you come out here and you practice. There’s nothing like live, but as you know I practice like it’s live,” he said. “… If they want me to go out there and play, you know, just like year one, when they sent me out, I was on the sideline ready to go. And I’ll be ready to go.”
Turner said he believes Peterson is good at pass protection when he’s put position to block the right defender, something that Turner is working into the offense. But how and when he hits the hole when running the ball will also change, Peterson said.
“It’s a lot. Just the timing. With any offense, whether it’s in the pass game or the run game, you’ve got to make sure that you can time it down right and get your reads right as well, and that’s something as a group we’ve been working on hard. (Running backs coach Kirby Wilson) has been doing a good job of coaching us up.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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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