Last week Darren Sproles was “all the rage” when Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that multiple teams had expressed an interest in the ultra-explosive multi-purpose running back. Originally expected to be released by the Saints, Sproles was instead traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth round pick.

 Norv Turner and Sproles had success together in San Diego for four seasons, so naturally the Minnesota Vikings were among the teams linked to the speculation and trade rumors.

 The Vikings obviously weren’t interested enough to offer their fifth round pick for Sproles…  and so, with the departure of Toby Gerhart to Jacksonville via free agency, Adrian Peterson could be looking at a heavy work load as it stands. 

In a recent interview with KFAN’s Paul Allen at the NFL Scouting Combine, Norv said, “I would expect Adrian Peterson to catch 50/60 balls next year.”

 Norv wants to get Adrian touches in open space, and one way to accomplish that is to throw him the ball more often. In 2013, Adrian only caught 29 balls for 171 yards and 1 touchdown.

 Adrain certainly has the make-you-miss moves and the breakaway speed of a smaller scat-back type of player, but he also has the size and power to run you over.

Even though Adrian has caught over 40 passes twice in his career, he is not widely recognized as a smooth open field pass catcher. At age 28, Peterson might need to flaunt a new element to his craft if he wants to maximize his potential and production in Norv’s new offensive system.

 60 receptions is a hefty goal to put on Adrian’s shoulders. Just how realistic is that expectation?

 Last season, under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, the Cleveland Browns used a committee of backs to split up the work load. Chris Ogbonnaya, Fozzy Whittaker, Trent Richardson, Edwin Baker, Willis McGahee and Bobby Rainey accounted for 96 receptions out of the backfield. Certainly the Vikings will not need to rotate a “hodge podge” of running backs the way the Browns did, which should allow Adrian to absorb the bulk of that pass catching production. Yes, 60 reception is very possible.

 A spread offense that regularly dumps the ball off to Adrian and Cordarelle Patterson, yet also takes some shots down field to Jennings, Rudolph, Simpson, Wright and Patterson is enough to get this rookie blogger all spiked-up for some football.

 As you can tell, I’m not terribly disappointed that the Vikings weren’t the highest bidder for Sproles, or that Toby won’t be wearing purple on Sundays. Instead, I’m intrigued to say the least, to see Norv challenge and push Adrian to a whole new level.

 The Vikings will not need to employ the running back by committee approach in 2014, but they will be eager for a dynamic play-maker to step up and grab the number two spot behind Adrian. GM Rick Spielman even hinted at the possibility of drafting a running back during a conference call last week.

 I am not 100% against the idea of drafting a running back, however, I would like to see the young backs currently on the roster get a quality opportunity in preseason to fight for that backup RB position. Bradley Randle and Zach Line have become fan favorites and it would be nice to see those guys step up in a big way during preseason. Both should fit well in Norv’s offense, and both should give Matt Asiata some competition.

Until that top backup running back emerges… I will just continue to dream about a throw-me-the-rock season for Adrian Peterson.