Friday, February 27, 2015
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adrian peterson

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When Adrian Peterson first lit up the NFL during his rookie season, NFL analysts warned Vikings fans that his running style would lead to the light burning out faster than anyone could imagine.

After what Peterson did following his 2011 knee surgery, however, some might suggest he should go under the knife every year.

On Thursday, Peterson had surgery to repair a sports hernia that first popped up (out?) during the Vikings week 10 game against the Lions.  Of course, it didn’t seem to slow him down at all.  In those final seven games, Peterson rushed for 1,068 yards and fell just nine yards short of the all-time record for rushing yard in a season.

The pain got to Peterson and he was regularly held out of weekly practices during that time.  He received a cortisone shot before his week 13 game against the Packers and described his pain level as a “10 on a scale of 10” during the week 16 game against the Texans.

Each week it just got worse and worse and worse,” said Peterson.  “I kept thinking to myself why is this happening and why now. With everything that I was going through with my knee I just said to myself I am not going to let this bring me down. I just focused on doing my rehab, getting rest and continuing to play.”

Peterson went on to admit that he felt he could have performed even better, and possibly broke the rushing record, had it not been for the injury.

“It definitely impacted my play,”  He said.  “I wasn’t 100 percent, but I wanted to win a championship. I wasn’t going to stop or quit. I made a decision to keep going. I don’t want to make it seem like the sports hernia made me miss it. I could have done it with the injury. All I can say is that I would have had better performances.”

Peterson said that he was given a timeline of about three or four weeks before he can do a full workout.  In other words, we will probably be hearing about Peterson going through his first full workout in a week and a half.

This injury will just add to the legend that Peterson’s 2012 performance has already become, and it shouldn’t hinder him at all moving forward.

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What a great day Saturday turned out to be for Vikings fans.

Cris Carter getting elected into the Hall of Fame was just the beginning.

The NFL hosted their second annual awards show on Saturday night, and oddly chose to air it after everyone knew who won what, but it was still well worth watching for those of us wanting to see Adrian Peterson get what he deserved.

Peterson took home the NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year Award, the Fed Ex Ground Player of the Year Award, and the Offensive Player of the Year Award.

The big question, however, was whether or not Peterson would win the Most Valuable Player Award with considerable competition coming out of Denver in the form of Peyton Manning.  By a tally of 30.5 to 19.5 votes, Peterson indeed won the prestigious award for the first time in his decorated career.

Peterson put doubters in the corner by rehabbing his knee and then rushing for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns.  As we all know, he fell only nine yards shy of having the greatest season of any running back in history.

Peterson did lose out to Manning in the voting for the much debated Comeback Player of the Year Award.

This may not be the last time Peterson wins this award, however, as he has recently stated that his goal for next season is to rush for 2,500 yards.  At this point, it is hard to doubt the man.

Leslie Frazier also managed to get three votes in the Coach of the Year category, which ended up going to Bruce Arians for his work as an interim coach in Indianapolis.

Congratulations to Peterson on his final achievement of the 2012 season!

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Adrian Peterson, Jerome Felton, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh, Jared Allen, Chad Greenway, and Matt Kalil are all playing in a football game tonight.

Sure, the Pro Bowl means about as much as an rerun of The Office, but with seven Vikings seeing televised action for the last time between now and the preseason it is hard not to watch and cheer.

We’ll be watching live and if you are too, then feel free to discuss the “action” right here below this post.

[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacks and the running backs.  We’ll continue our way through all of the positions this week.]

Top Tier

Adrian Peterson did the best running of his career behind fullback Jerome Felton who signed a one year deal with the Vikings prior to last season.  Naturally, his success will make him the top rated fullback on the free agent market ad Vikings fans will be disappointed to see the front office let him play anywhere else.

Expect the Vikings to try and get the lead blocker under contract before free agency begins.  A three year deal to the tune of $9 million sounds about right for their Pro Bowl fullback.

The second best option in free agency would have to be the young James Casey, who stepped up when Vontae Leach departed Houston.

Last night’s article about my opinion that the Vikings would be a great fit for running back prospect Marcus Lattimore sparked one of the better reader conversations, or debate perhaps, that we have had so far this offseason.

Naturally, I want to give my opinion.

In the discussion, there are two basic schools of thought at play, with one thinking a team should draft for need and the other saying to take the best player available.  Some good arguments have been made, but I think my perspective is a touch different.

In a world where all the stars align, a team’s draft board would align perfectly with their roster needs.  If you desperately need a running back, then you would love to see a running back be the highest ranked player available to you when you are on the clock.

It is the General Manager’s job to try and create that perfect world by moving around during the Draft.  A perfect example of such a move could be from just last year when Rick Spielman, who needed to get his team some safety help, pulled the trigger on a trade that bounced the Vikings back into the first round where they were able to grab Harrison Smith.

It is also possible, last year, that the Vikings had a higher grade on running back Trent Richardson than they did on Matt Kalil which allowed Spielman to move back a spot and let Richardson get picked up by Cleveland, while retaining the ability to still get Kalil.

Sometimes these trades don’t always work out, however, and a team is forced to choose between their best rated player or making a slight reach in the name of filling an immediate need.  I am sure that those decisions are the hardest ones to make when the pressure is on.

If I were in charge of making such decisions (which, of course, I am not) I would see no shame in taking either approach, really, but would have a philosophy that revolves around my roster’s identity.

Let me explain.

There is something to be said for a team that uses free agency and the first round of the Draft to fill immediate needs, while using day two and day three of the Draft to reinforce an already strong part of the roster.  Drafting to get deeper and stronger at an area of your roster that already is a strength, if you will.

For example, the New York Giants in recent history have not been shy about spending early picks on defensive linemen because that was their identity, their pass rush essentially won them a Super Bowl against an undefeated Patriots team, and they didn’t want to take on any risk of losing that identity through injuries.  Their defensive line also played a big part in last year’s Super Bowl run, their second in five years.

The Minnesota Vikings have openly admitted that their offense is “built to win” by running the football.  It is their identity.

Of course, having Adrian Peterson is a huge part of that, and a lot of their future success hinges on his ability to stay healthy and stay productive.  Heck, they even have a decent backup plan in Toby Gerhart, who is a lot better as an every down back than as a player pulling spot duty.

Still, I see absolutely no problem with the Vikings using the NFL Draft to ensure that their identity, being a hard running offense, is maintained and preserved long into the future despite what unpleasant surprises may end up surfacing.

So, to finally get around to the point, that is why I would have absolutely no problem with the Vikings spending a fourth or fifth rounder on a running back.  Or a guard.  Or a center.  It may not immediately improve the running offense, but if it ensures that running game will last for an entire season and well into the postseason then I think it is a pick well spent.

Besides, if we are banking on filling our needs in round four of the NFL Draft, then Rick Spielman has already messed things up pretty bad.

I am a big fan of the Best Player Available approach to the NFL Draft because I just don’t see the downside.  There is no shame in using that player to fill a need or provide depth in an area on your roster that already has a solid starter.

Besides, if the Vikings had always drafted for need, then I don’t think Adrian Peterson ever would have worn a Vikings uniform in the first place.

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