Before I get to my mini-rant on Adrian Peterson I want to thank everyone for checking out VikesCentric. I’ve often wondered why there was a TwinsCentric Blog, but no Vikings equivalent… or for that matter nothing “Centric” for the Timberwolves, Wild, Lynx, Gophers, etc.
So when John Bonnes (a.k.a. “Twins Geek” of the TwinsCentric group) mentioned the idea of doing a Vikings version to me, I eagerly hopped on board and quickly brought two of the best writers/great Vikings minds I know (Christian Peterson and Patrick Donnelly) into the loop.
After a few short conversations with Howard Sinker, VikesCentric was born. So again, I wish to say thank you in advance to those of you who will be frequenting this purple corner of the Inter-web and indulging us in weekly Vikings opinions and speculation. And thank you to John and Howard for pulling the strings to get VikesCentric off the ground.
Now then, onto the task at hand; namely: wondering aloud when the Vikings might go back to their bread and butter and feed Adrian Peterson the football.
During this morning’s Fantasy Football Weekly radio program on KFAN, I got into a bit of a debate with Paul Charchian, who fairly pointed out that the Vikings, for whatever reason, just haven’t been giving Peterson as many touches as they used to. It’s a disturbing trend and Charch was skeptical that the Vikings would suddenly change their ways any time soon.
Case in point: last week in San Diego. The Vikings started off giving Peterson a bunch of touches in the early going and then went away from him. Adrian ultimately finished the game with 18 touches (16 carries and two receptions). It marked the seventh time in the Vikings’ last nine games Peterson has had fewer than 20 touches.
This simply doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons. Peterson is the face of the franchise, a tough, strong workhorse, and oh yeah, the best (and richest) running back in the world.
Give him the ball.
It seems like a no-brainer to me. Give Peterson 20-plus touches every week without fail.
In my on-air conversation with Charch, he sincerely doubted whether the current administration would go back to giving Peterson that many touches on a regular basis. I argued that they should and would. The only support for my stance: everything head coach Leslie Frazier and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said this offseason. They want to make Peterson the hub of this offense. They intend to make him the focal point… and the Vikings have paid him accordingly.
Heck, for $100 million maybe he should be getting 30 touches a game. I know he wouldn't mind. Peterson joked with reporters last year that he'd like 50 carries per game. But alas, he has 20-plus touches twice in the Vikings last nine games.
I think that changes starting Sunday in this year’s Dome Opener. It’s not like Peterson can’t handle the workload. He has before. In 2010, he had at least 20 touches in a game eight times – six times in the first half of the season. In 2009, Peterson tallied 20 touches 11 times and had two more games of 19 touches. And in 2008 Peterson fully lived up to his “All Day” moniker by registering 20 touches in 14 games.
That’s more like it.
Peterson is in his prime. The Vikings passing game (to put it kindly) has some work to do. There’s no reason why Adrian shouldn’t touch the ball 20-25 times against the Buccaneers on Sunday… and then again in every other game this season.
Bo Mitchell is VP of content at SportsData, editor of the Maple Street Press Vikings 2011 Annual (on newsstands now!), and co-host of the Fantasy Football Weekly radio show on Saturday mornings on KFAN 100.3 FM.
You can follow Bo on Twitter at @Bo_Mitchell