There’s no need to harp on Adrian Peterson‘s lack of versatility. Minnesota Vikings fans know, after years of watching him barrel through opposing defenses, that Peterson’s most valuable attribute was just that — his ability as a pure, north-to-south runner.
As Father Time gains ground and offensive philosophies shift to more wide-open, dynamic attacks, patience wears thin for players of Peterson’s unique, if limited skill set. While still a major draw on Sunday afternoons, the proof is on the paper; the Vikings’ all-time leading rusher sits behind Mark Ingram — and potentially rookie Alvin Kamara — on the New Orleans Saints’ depth chart.
Back in Minnesota, it’s clear Peterson’s replacement, second-round pick Dalvin Cook, brings a welcome, refreshing dynamic to the Vikings’ backfield. Though not the workhorse of his predecessor, it was clear from the start of training camp that Cook’s ceiling — in all other facets of a running back’s repertoire — is much higher than Peterson’s was from 2012 on.
Last Thursday’s preseason opener gave the organization a glimpse of the offensive flexibility Cook brings to Pat Shurmur’s scheme. Against the Buffalo Bills, he enjoyed a lion’s share of touches — almost all manufactured to put the ball in his hands — and reminded the Vikings of the possibilities created by having a do-it-all player in the backfield.