It’s been three years since the Minnesota Vikings traded up to make running back Toby Gerhart a second-round pick.

Since then, he’s done nothing to prove that he’s capable of being a reliable option behind Adrian Peterson. On top of averaging a pathetic 3.4 yards per carry last season, he failed to display the power and vision that made him a top prospect coming out of college. And we all remember that disastrous fumble-fest against the San Francisco 49ers…

Unless Gerhart magically flips a switch in 2013, the Vikings will part ways with the former Heisman Trophy runner-up. What avenue they decide to take, though, is TBD.

The first, and most appealing, of the Vikings’ options is trading Gerhart, who could be an intriguing addition for a team looking to implement some power into their ground game. While the former second-round pick won’t fetch much after three underwhelming seasons, getting something for Gerhart instead of letting him walk via free agency seems logical.

The other option is severing ties with Gerhart now and avoiding disaster. Let’s talk hypotheticals…

Let’s say – knock on wood – Peterson goes down in 2013 and is forced to miss significant time due to the injury. In that instance, the Vikings would have to rely on Gerhart to carry the load with no other proven running backs on the roster. While he has been serviceable in the short-term, he’s too inconsistent and inefficient to start more than two or three games. Avoiding that situation might be a good option for Minnesota.

If the Vikings did go with Door No. 2, a free agency acquisition would become a must. The only other ball carriers currently on the roster are Matt Asiata and a handful of undrafted rookies. Not exactly comforting in terms of depth. There are several capable options – Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Turner, Javon Ringer – wading in the free agency pool who could fill the void.

It’s something to consider moving forward, especially with Gerhart likely headed elsewhere in 2013.