When reporters asked Mike Wallace Tuesday if he’s curious to see Adrian Peterson play, Vikings fans knew what the receiver would say long before he had a chance to answer the question — of course! Given the fact that the Vikings are averaging a meager three yards per carry this preseason, Peterson’s return to the backfield is long overdue. On September 14th, he’ll make his first appearance on the field since rushing for 75 yards in Week One last season. Regardless of the team’s struggles early on, offensive coordinator Norv Turner is optimistic and nearly as excited as Wallace to see No. 28 suit up against the 49ers:
“We’re going to be a good running football team,” Turner said on Tuesday. “We developed into a pretty good running team last year and obviously we’re anxious to get [Adrian] Peterson back.”
No one doubts Peterson’s rushing abilities — he’s averaged five yards per carry over his career, rushed for more than 10,000 yards, and has scored almost 90 touchdowns on the ground in eight seasons. At 30 years old, Peterson’s hit the proverbial “running back wall,” but who expects Peterson to do anything but crash through that wall this year? He’s in the best shape of his life, which is scary considering he broke the 2,000-yard mark in 2012 a year after tearing his ACL.
Don’t be surprised if Peterson carries the ball more than 300 times in 2015. In each of the seasons where he played all 16 games (2008, 2009, 2012), Peterson eclipsed that number and was projected to do so in 2013, when he carried the ball 279 times through 14 games. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon will get their touches, but Peterson is the workhorse of the group — if he stays healthy, he’ll easily rush for more than 1,200 yards.
I have one request, though. Please, please get Adrian Peterson involved in the passing game. Knowing Norv Turner’s history calling offenses, that should happen this season. But how often will Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson connect? Let’s find out.