Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Musgrave says Gerhart's carries will increase

Posted by: Mark Craig under Injury report, Vikings, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin Updated: November 11, 2011 - 1:22 PM

Toby Gerhart would have been happy listening to Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave address the media today.

You remember Toby, right?

Decent player with good power. Backup running back. Came with a pretty high price tag (second-round draft pick) a year ago.

Gerhart has only 17 carries in eight games. That's 150 fewer than the big gun, Adrian Peterson, and two fewer than receiver Percy Harvin.

Well, that's a discrepancy that's going to change during the second half of the season, Musgrave said. Peterson, of course, is still going to get the bulk of the carries, but Gerhart's playing time will increase.

"We have to do a better job of getting Toby on the field and spelling Adrian," Musgrave said. "We did a little bit better job of that in Charlotte [a 24-21 win over Carolina on Oct. 30]. But we look to do a much better job of that over the next eight games. Toby was essential in that drive we had in the third quarter in Charlotte. When he got in the game, the ball started to move.

"We have to do a better job of getting him on the field and devise some packages where he's a part of it and can contribute because he's definitely capable."

During that 90-yard drive against the Panthers, Gerhart had four carries for 27 yards. Peterson also had four carries for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Other highlights from a day in which the coordinators spoke to the media:

  • Musgrave was asked what the ideal number of snaps is for Harvin. "I don't know that we've come to that conclusion," Musgrave said. "I don't know that he can go as many plays as Mike Jenkins or Devin Aromashodu can. But we definitely want to have him in there at least three out of every four snaps to utilize him. Plus he's tough for the defense to deal with even when he doesn't get the ball." Harvin is practicing this week and isn't even on the injury report for the rib injury that has bothered him since training camp.
  • Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was asked if he ever had a defensive lineman serve as the gunner on punt coverage before using 273-pound defensive end Everson Griffen in that role this season. "Never," Priefer said. "I've had linebackers before, but never defensive ends. He's a unique athlete and he's playing at a high level right now. I hope he keeps playing at that level because to me the most experience he gets doing that the harder he'll be to block, especially for the smaller safeties and corners who are out there."

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