Welcome to the latest installment of the Vikings Territory Training Camp Primer series focusing on Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray, and the Minnesota Vikings’ running back position.
It’s an odd thing to say, but the Vikings are arguably better off at running back without Adrian Peterson in the backfield. With Peterson, Minnesota tied itself to a player stuck in the past, a player too stubborn to advance his game where the team needed it to go.
Thus, the Vikings moved forward without him this offseason, allowing the future Hall-of-Fame running back to take his immense (if limited) talents to New Orleans. And when the Saints come to U.S. Bank Stadium Week 1, the Vikings know exactly what they’ll see in Peterson — a square peg in the round hole that is New Orleans’ pass-happy offense.
But in Minnesota, the backfield situation is one of fluidity. Any of the three players at the top of the depth chart — Murray, Cook, and Jerick McKinnon — can line up from the shotgun or under center. Not only that, they can catch out of the backfield and split carries when asked — elements Peterson didn’t seem to grasp in his final years as the Vikings’ lead back.