Saturday, February 28, 2015
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adrian peterson

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the second article, focusing on the running backs.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview here.]

Any writer that says he or she knows how the Vikings running back depth chart will look in 2015 is lying to you, even if they end up being correct.  I’m a huge fan of irresponsible speculation, truly, but I’m not going to lie to you:  I have no idea how the Adrian Peterson situation will shake out.

If you are interested in some of the speculation on the topic then feel free to read this, this, this, this, this or this.  On second thought, it might just be easier to type “Adrian Peterson” into the search bar at the top of this page and browse as you please.

Now that we’ve established that I’m about to make some predictions based on an impossible-to-predict situation, let’s take a look at what I think I know.

There is no reason to suspect that Jerick McKinnon won’t play a significant role moving forward.  There is also no reason to expect the Vikings not to bring restricted free agents Joe Banyard and Matt Asiata with them to Mankato, as I’ve previously assessed.  They will also have recently-signed Henry Josey and practice squad player Dominique Williams available to them.

Even without Peterson, the Vikings certainly have the quantity of running backs in their current stable to create a decent competition at the position.  The worry, however, is that the quality is lacking (again, if Peterson doesn’t return) and I would not be surprised to see them add some talent.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Zimmer had a nice and tidy post-season presser that didn’t make too many waves.

He is proud of what they’ve accomplished.  He wants to see improvement.  He is humble in front of the cameras.  He has a plan to get Cordarrelle Patterson up to snuff.  He respects Chad Greenway.  He’s taking a little time off before getting started on his 2015 preparations.

One of the unavoidable topics brought up, however, is one that will largely shape this offseason for the Minnesota Vikings and greatly impact Zimmer’s plans for 2015.

When asked about the possibility of an Adrian Peterson return next season, Zimmer stated exactly what we would expect him to state.

“Adrian was always great with me. I think he’s a good person,” Zimmer said. “I think obviously he’s a great running back, and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order — that’s the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back — then I will be in his corner whatever the decision is made.”

Zimmer then said some words that caught the eye of those expecting an offseason trade.

“I think he would add value to any team, to be honest with you. I think the kid’s a heck of a football player.”

Vikings fans have gotten used to being the early game this season, but today we have to endure until round two.  So, while you wait, we’ve rounded up some Vikings-tastic reading to quench your thirst.  Here you go:

 

Well, the Packers are coming to town and it is hard to think of a time that they’ve ever been playing better football than they are right now.  The Vikings are getting some closure on the Adrian Peterson ordeal, but continue to find ways to struggle on the field.  The Vikings are not a pushover, however, and it is Packers week… so, get caught up on everything via the below links, get your game face on, and hope for the best on Sunday.

 

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Adrian Peterson’s suspension has yet to be appealed, but there is very little optimism that he’ll return to the Vikings this season, if ever.  Today, Jerick McKinnon (back) and Matt Asiata (concussion) were both unable to practice.

All of that combined apparently caused the Vikings to evaluate outside options, one of which was former Texans and Browns running back Ben Tate.  Tate was waived by the Browns yesterday after reports of his discontent with his role in Cleveland’s offense were widely distributed.

Tate was selected in the second round of the 2010 Draft by Houston with a pick the Vikings held (but traded away to move up and select Toby Gerhart).  There, injuries and the emergence of Arian Foster limited his production, but he always seemed like a plenty capable spot starter.  His first season in Cleveland obviously didn’t turn out as he had hoped, but at age 26 it seems there may be some value in this move.

He is currently playing under a two year deal worth a total of $6.2 million, but none of his 2015 salary is guaranteed and the Vikings could cut him with minimal (or no) impact to the salary cap depending on the timing.  Tate’s best rushing season came as a rookie when he gained 942 yards (5.4 average) and four touchdowns, but perhaps even more interesting is that last season he caught 34 passes with Houston.

We now have a new running back to consider when predicting the future direction of this Vikings roster, but the short-term possibility that he could be active on Sunday is perhaps even more intriguing.

The Vikings released tight end MarQueis Gray in a corresponding move.

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