Souhan: Peterson needs help on offense

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 6, 2013 - 12:09 AM

The Vikings need a diverse offense, not a maxed-out running back.

So you’re fired up to watch the Vikings’ opener. You’re a new-age NFL fan. You’ve got your artisan chips, organic guacamole made from avocados imported on an entirely organic boat, meat so tender the farmer must have carried that cow everywhere, and a “We’re No. 1” foam finger that the vendor promises never came close to Miley Cyrus.

You can’t wait for Adrian Peterson to defy physiology, psychology, logic and history by rushing for 2,500 yards this season.

Peterson raises expectations the way a drunk bids at an auction. Do we have 2,000? “I can do that,’’ Peterson says. Do we have 2,500? “Why not?’’ Peterson says.

You should want Peterson to aim high. You should also want him to fall short.

Here’s why:

Running the ball well benefits NFL teams. Running the ball constantly rarely does.

Since Terrell Davis rushed for 2,008 yards in 1998 and the Broncos won the Super Bowl with Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway running the offense, no player who led the NFL in rushing has won a Super Bowl. Only one has played in a Super Bowl — Seattle’s Shaun Alexander in 2005.

• • •

Peterson seemed indestructible last year, but he’s not. At 28, he has already suffered two serious knee injuries, and he plays in an era when concussions diagnoses are commonplace. Every time he carries the ball, he’s at risk. To rush for 2,500 yards, he’d take an inhuman battering against teams lined up to stop him. He survived last year, but there’s a reason NFL running backs last about as long as boy bands.

• • •

His output last year shouldn’t be considered a steppingstone, but an aberration. His entire offensive line stayed healthy all year. He stayed healthy all year. Stump your friends with this question: Before he rushed for 2,097 yards, how many times had Peterson rushed for more than 1,400 yards?

The answer: Once. In 2008, starring in another offense that relied heavily on the run and downplayed quarterback play, Peterson rushed for 1,760 yards. His third-highest total: 1,383 in 2009, when he played in a fully functional offense with a gifted quarterback and receivers. That should be considered a median, even a desirable, season.

• • •

Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards in part because of individual brilliance, but also because of the Vikings’ failures. If he reaches that total again, that would mean that the Vikings again failed to throw the ball effectively and were still unstable at the most important position in sport, quarterback.

If the Vikings throw the ball well, there will be fewer yards available to Peterson no matter how well he runs. The Vikings didn’t sign Greg Jennings and draft Cordarrelle Patterson to block downfield. They brought them in to diversify and improve the offense.

Rushing for 2,000 yards also requires poor field position and lots of possession time. The Vikings would be a better team if their defense and special teams would score a few touchdowns and set up a few 20-yard touchdown drives.

• • •

NFL backs who have reached 2,000 yards typically regress dramatically the next season, demonstrating the physical toll absorbed by star runners. The Vikings would be better off having Peterson rush for 1,500 yards for each of the next five seasons than having him reach 2,000 again and shortening his career.

  • related content

  • Vikings notes: Williams doubtful for season opener

    Friday September 6, 2013

    Kevin Williams has missed only two games in 10 seasons because of injury, but his availability for Sunday’s season opener looks in serious jeopardy.

  • Peterson says he's not worried about fullback situation

    Thursday September 5, 2013

    Peterson will be without Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton for three games

  • Chart: 2013 NFC North team capsules

    Thursday September 5, 2013

    Sizing up The vikings’ competition in the NFC northCHICAGO bears2012 record: 10-6, third, missed the playoffs.Key addition: Coach Marc Trestman....

  • Vikings runningback Adrian Peterson

  • The numbers might be nice, but history shows that few NFL teams reach great heights with a one-man show on offense.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Bottom 5th Inning
Chicago WSox 6
Chicago Cubs 0 Top 2nd Inning
St. Louis 0
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 4th Qtr 15:00
UAB 38
(7) UCLA 28 4th Qtr 13:40
Virginia 17
Western Mich 21 3rd Qtr 3:16
Purdue 37
(5) Ohio State 20 4th Qtr 15:00
Navy 14
Appalachian St 7 4th Qtr 13:59
Michigan 49
Ga Southern 20 3rd Qtr 3:23
NC State 10
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close