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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

At 1-6, should Vikings start tapering Peterson's carries?

Posted by: Mark Craig under Vikings, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin Updated: October 26, 2011 - 11:25 AM

Taking a break from the police blotter and the Winter Park sing-a-long "Ding, Dong the Berrian's Gone!" ...

Most fans probably say the same thing when they spot backup running back Toby Gerhart making his 1.7 carries per game:

"What are they DOING? Where's ADRIAN!?"

Well, you should know that no other NFL team has bigger discrepancy in the amount of carries between the starter and the backup running back (138). Adrian Peterson has 146 (20.8 per game) while Gerhart has 12.

Heck, Toby trails receiver Percy Harvin (16) in carries.

The only other teams in the league that have a difference of at least 100 carries between the starting running back and the backup are Atlanta (122) and Chicago (101).

Peterson is a once-in-a-generation player that we all want to see play. But running backs don't last forever. Carries take their toll, even on men who look like Peterson.

The Vikings' offense is built around Peterson. But with the team slumping along at 1-6 in a lost season, should it start to taper Peterson's carries a little bit, keeping the future in mind?

He's on pace for 334 carries, which would be 29 fewer than his career high of 363 in 2008.

He's also on pace to have 306 more carries than his backup. That would be a career high by far. In 2008, Peterson had 262 carries more than Chester Taylor. Last year, he had 202 more than Gerhart. In 2009, he had 220 more than Taylor. And in 2007, his rookie season, he had 81 more than Taylor.

Just something to, um, ponder. 



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