I have been pretty critical over the last two years of the Vikings trade forwards in the 2010 NFL Draft to select running back Toby Gerhart.
With Adrian Peterson being one of this offseason’s biggest question marks, however, it is comforting to know that the Vikings have such a quality option to lean on if Peterson needs a limited role, or if they need a full time starter.
“I’m just preparing to be the guy,” Gerhart said of the situation. “I try to do that every year, but this year it’s a little more prevalent. I’m doing everything I can to be here, work hard, work with the new guys we have coming in, pushing everybody and getting pushed by other guys. Preparing to be the guy, depending on whether Adrian comes back.”
Gerhart has six career starts, with five of them coming last season, and his numbers are nothing to scoff at. Over 109 attempts Gerhart averaged 4.9 yards per carry, and also grabbed 23 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Despite last season’s increased in touches, he improved upon the fumbling issues that worried us in his rookie season, and only fumbled once last season.
“I feel I’ve been able to work through it pretty nicely,” Gerhart said of his own, less serious knee injury from last year. “Coming back, it’s getting better and better, just rehabbing the last few months. Got out here for a little bit; being back out here taking care of it, and its feeling good running around.”
Despite Gerhart’s favorable numbers from last season, he said he sees plenty of room for improvement and will work on these items throughout OTA’s and training camp.
“For me, I’d like to be a little more agile in the second level,” he said. “There were a couple of times coming through, about six to seven yards, if I can make a safety miss, it can be a bigger gain. Working on my feet a little bit, getting a little quicker, little shiftier left to right.”
Whether or not Gerhart gets his full time gig for any period of time remains to be seen. Peterson not only seems hell bent on being back for week one of the regular season, but he even describes himself as “50-50” for training camp.