MANKATO – Remember all those articles and comments about the Vikings being so predictable on offense in recent years, particularly under former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave?
Well, as it turns out, Adrian Peterson agreed with all of them.
“I just call it what it is,” the Vikings running back said after Monday morning’s walk-through at Minnesota State Mankato. “I feel in the past, we were predictable. You guys wrote stories about being predictable in the past seven years. You won’t be able to write that story this year. That’s pretty much all that I’m saying. You won’t be able to do that because this offense is so versatile.”
It’s no secret that Peterson seems genuinely excited about the team’s new offense. It helps, of course, that Norv Turner, a 30-year NFL coaching veteran and owner of two Super Bowl rings, was hired to replace Musgrave.
“This is what I’ve been looking for the past seven years,” Peterson said. “And now I feel like we have an offense that fits our talent and what we have as far as the players at their positions and what they’re able to do. I’m pretty excited for what Norv Turner is putting in for us. It’s putting guys in opportunities to make plays and be more versatile as an offense. So I’m stoked about that.”
Asked what the biggest difference was between this offense and the ones he has played in before, Peterson said, “Not to take anything away from the coaches we had before, but just being more versatile.”
AP, pass catcher?
Understandably, Peterson isn’t known for his ability as a pass catcher. In fact, he has looked uncomfortable enough catching the ball that critics have focused more on his inability to catch the ball.
Monday, Peterson was asked how he’s progressing in an offense that’s determined to use him more as a pass catcher.
“I feel good,” he said. “I don’t want to make it sound like I’m Michael Irvin or Jerry Rice. But I’ve been playing this game since I was 7. I can catch a football. I’m confident in what I’m able to do.”
He’s also not happy that people question his ability to catch the ball.
“It’s funny to me,” he said. “I really don’t make too much of it. When you’re in my position, everything is highlighted. [Sunday], there were receivers who had more drops than me in about the same amount of opportunities.”
Preseason playing time
The Vikings have a new coach but the same philosophy on putting preseason wear and tear on Peterson.
Although it’s a new offense and Peterson has expressed willingness to do whatever the team wants him to do in the preseason, coach Mike Zimmer made the team’s plans clear.
“He won’t get many [reps] in the preseason,” said Zimmer, smiling. “I don’t need to see him.”
No Chuck Priefer
The Vikings still haven’t announced what their plans are for replacing special teams coach Mike Priefer, who will serve a two- or three-game suspension following the investigation that confirmed his anti-gay remarks to former punter Chris Kluwe during a team setting in 2012.
Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman still are considering the possibility of bringing in an interim coach from outside the organization. One person it won’t be is Chuck Priefer, Mike’s father and former longtime NFL special teams coach. Chuck is in Mankato this week to be with Mike, but a source said Chuck will not serve as his son’s replacement.
One option remains the temporary promotion of assistant special teams coach Ryan Ficken.
“I’m going to let him probably make more decisions in the preseason games,” Priefer said.
Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (foot) saw his first action of training camp when he participated in some individual drills during Monday night’s practice. Assuming there’s no setback, he could join team drills as soon as Wednesday. Players are off Tuesday.
Meanwhile, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who is on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of a hamstring injury, also could return to action Wednesday, Zimmer said.