When the Vikings finally pull RB Adrian Peterson out of the garage on Sept. 7 in St. Louis, they'll be inserting him in an offense that will ask the 2012 NFL MVP to handle some different tasks from the ones he's typically performed.
The Vikings' desire to use Peterson in the passing game has been well-documented, and will probably be the most profound change for him this season, but there also will be a subtle change in the ways they use him when he's carrying the ball.
Peterson has done most of his work between the tackles in recent years, often putting together some of his biggest plays on zone runs that gave the running back a chance to read the defense and cut back against the grain if he saw an opportunity. In 2012, Peterson gained 1,536 of his 2,097 yards inside the tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Some of those plays will still be there, but the Vikings will also introduce some power running elements to their ground game, including some outside runs like they've shown in the preseason with guard Charlie Johnson pulling around the right side of the line.
On those plays, Peterson will have to display enough patience to let his blockers get set up and follow them to a predetermined point of attack.
The story goes on to say that the Vikings want to get Peterson on the edge of the field more often, both to maximize his explosiveness and reduce the pounding on his body, and that will inherently put the running back in some new situations. He'll run out of shotgun sets and multiple-receiver formations more often. He'll have to be better in pass protection to stay on the field on third downs, and he'll have to be more reliable catching the ball. The key is he'll have to be patient. But, these are all reasons why Peterson is again a top-three fantasy player to draft this season. The good news is the Vikings are trying to put him in situations to stay healthy, and with what looks like the threat of a passing game with OC Norv Turner, Peterson is again poised for a big year.