Judging the Vikings’ preseason running game without Adrian Peterson is kind of like doing a concert review of the E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen sitting in the 10th row wearing a muzzle and no guitar.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner sounds like he would agree.
“I think it’s really difficult to make an assessment of the running game in the preseason,” he said Tuesday. “It’s not been something that we’ve gone into any of the preseason games and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to go run the football. We’re going to run it 25 times in the first half and get this done.’ We’ve tried to do enough things in all areas to evaluate our players and give them a chance to go function in a lot of different areas.”
For what it’s worth, which isn’t much sans No. 28, the Vikings rank 28th in average yards per carry this preseason. At 2.97 yards per carry, they’re one of only five teams not cracking the 3.0 mark. The others: Houston (2.85), Jacksonville (2.68), Pittsburgh (2.54) and Atlanta, the only team under 2.0 (1.95).
But, never fear (at least not yet), the regular season and Peterson is mercifully near.
“We’re going to be a good running football team,” said Turner, whose running game ranked 11th in yards per rush (4.37) a year ago with Peterson out for 15 games. “We developed into a pretty good running team last year. I like Matt [Asiata], obviously, I like Jerick [McKinnon] and obviously we’re anxious to get [Adrian] Peterson back.”