The Vikiogns are a group that will spend a decent chunk of the offseason trying to establish its identity on offense. Here's an idea: balance.
The Vikings haven't ranked in the top 20 in both running and passing yards since 2009, when Brett Favre shared a backfield with Peterson. Since that season, one facet of the Vikings' offense has been ranked 26th or worse in the league in every year but one: 2013, when the league's most porous defense forced the Vikings to play catch-up enough that their passing game ascended all the way to 23rd.
"We were almost totally 100 percent one-dimensional, which made it extra tough for the quarterback," Zimmer said at the NFL owners meetings last week. "Teams were able to load up on us, rush the quarterback, play more coverage. I thought [Bradford] did great. He hung in there and showed his toughness. He's an extremely accurate thrower. The guys in the locker room, he developed a relationship with those guys, even though he came in [eight] days before the season, and was able to learn the system and so on."
Under new OC Norv Turner, the Vikings' plan for RB Adrian Peterson could look slightly different than how the 2012 NFL MVP has been used in the past. He talked about wanting to get Peterson the ball in space more often, which could sound like sweet poetry to Vikings fans who have wondered why Peterson hasn't been used as a receiving threat more over the years. The best season of Peterson's career as a receiver, not surprisingly, came in 2009, when he caught 43 passes for 436 yards from Brett Favre, who used running backs as receivers with great success during his career.
"He’s run the ball in closed-in quarters with a lot of defenders there and he makes a lot of long runs, making people miss or running over people," Turner said. "It’s hard to do, but we would like to get him in space and getting the field spread a little bit better for for him."
If Turner is able to get Peterson in the open field more often, either by throwing him the ball or by reducing the number of defenders in the box, it could help take some of the wear off a running back who just had his third surgery in as many years and will be 29 in March.
Peterson has only averaged 2.0 receptions in his career, and has been curiously underutilized in the passing game since day one. He's not quite the natural receiver as LaDainian Tomlinson was, but as a Turner-RB comparison, Tomlinson averaged 3.7 receptions throughout his career.
The NFL continued doling out punishment for the New Orleans Saints bounty program on Wednesday, suspending linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season for his role in the team's pay-for-hits system.
Defensive end Will Smith will sit out four games.
Anthony Hargrove, a former Saints defensive end who signed with the Green Bay Packers in March, was given an eight-game suspension. Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was suspended for three games.
The NFL found that Vilma offered $10,000 of his own money to any team member who knocked Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of 2009 playoff games.
This is obviously a blow to the Saints defense and with all the changes amongst the coaching staff, they look like a unit to target in 2012.
Aaron Rodgers doesn't trace his distaste for turnovers back to that frigid NFC championship game against the Giants — "That game, I was just trying to stay warm most of the time," he joked — or any other moment he spent behind Brett Favre.
Instead, Rodgers said it goes back to his days at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif..
"I mean, that's No. 1, it really is — really going back to my freshman year of high school, when I actually threw more interceptions than touchdowns," Rodgers said. "Just making a conscious decision to be smart with the football. Since then, I haven't had any of those years."