LaDainian Tomlinson, RB
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Vikings plan to utilize Adrian Peterson in space
February 10, 2014, 11:43am
ESPN - [Full Article]
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.