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Continued: Wildly varying fortunes: Peterson and his running mates

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 26, 2013 - 3:27 PM

“I was like, ‘Twenty-five-hundred, huh? … That dude’s not coming off the field ever this year.’”

It’s easy to forget that the last time Gerhart had a chance to be an every-down force, he was a headline stealer. Like Peterson, he is a former Heisman Trophy runner-up, completing his senior season at Stanford in 2009 with 343 carries, 1,913 yards and 28 touchdowns.

In his best game, he gashed Oregon for 223 yards and three TDs on 38 rushes.

Last season? He had 50 carries for 169 yards. That in a year that began with everyone thinking he’d be a workhorse early as Peterson worked back from his torn ACL.

“I worked so hard all offseason preparing to be the guy,” Gerhart says. “I think everyone was expecting career highs for me in every category. It turned out to be the exact opposite.”

Lost in the celebration of the superstar’s amazing recovery was the anxiety of the forgotten man. Gerhart’s impatience peaked in Week 3 when he lost two fumbles in a minute and a half when called on to close out a 24-13 upset of San Francisco.

“That was a byproduct of being a frustrated runner,” Gerhart says. “No way around it. In that four-minute situation, we’re taught to get what we can and shoot down to the ground. Don’t try to make a play. For me, I was getting my first carries in a while so I was trying to make something happen. … That was my nightmare game.”

Gerhart always has accepted his role with Vikings coach Leslie Frazier labeling his No. 2 running back “a class guy,” “the ultimate team player,” and “one of those guys you’ll always pull for.”

Still, the raw numbers sometimes annoy Gerhart.

At Indianapolis: Five carries, 15 yards. Chicago: Three carries, 17 yards. At Houston: Eight for 31.

So often he’s called on as a situational sub, encouraged to get a just a few small chunks. He knows he’s a back who gets better as his workload increases, bright enough to solve defenses, rugged enough to wear down tacklers.

Gerhart chuckles thinking about the rough first quarter Peterson had in St. Louis last December. Eight rushes for 8 yards. Then came an 82-yard touchdown burst.

“Now he’s averaging 10 yards per carry and everything’s great,” Gerhart says. “For me, sometimes it’s two carries. You get the zero and the two. And that’s it.

“I hear it all the time from my buddies. ‘Stinks you only got two carries. But, hey, you’re backing up Adrian Peterson.’ Like it’s some sort of awesome consolation prize just because it’s Adrian.”

No wonder Gerhart’s dad, Todd, always has his cell phone ready, the one outlet Toby can always turn to for reassurance. More often than not, though, it’s a son persuading his dad that all will ultimately be OK.

“It’s funny,” Todd says. “He sells it to me. ‘My time will come. I’ll get my shot.’ I just listen. He’s telling it to me, I think, for his own psychotherapy.”

When the disenchantment rises, Gerhart reminds himself of the thousands of players who had similar NFL dreams but never stuck around this long. He counts his blessings that he’s healthy and able to work daily with the best player on the planet.

Naturally, he’ll peek around the league.

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Boston - LP: A. Ranaudo 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: C. Morton 4
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 8
Washington - WP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 9
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
Chicago WSox - WP: E. Surkamp 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 2
Detroit - LP: J. Nathan 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: G. Perkins 4
Milwaukee - WP: B. Kintzler 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 2
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 10
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1
Seattle 11 Top 8th Inning
LA Angels 2
Texas 6 Top 9th Inning
Oakland 3
Philadelphia 3 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 5
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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