The Minnesota Vikings have Adrian Peterson back in minicamp and the running back is expected to start ahead of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata after staying away from team activities this year and head coach Mike Zimmer has said that Peterson will help the offense along with Mike Wallace and Cordarrelle Patterson as Teddy Bridgewater develops in year two.
The Vikings only had Peterson for one game last season, so the star running back missed out on Bridgewater's rookie year. The Vikings struggled at times in the rushing game, but overall the offense was better than expected and now the team has Peterson back. Last season the Vikings used Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata as the lead running backs and that experience should give the team some depth at the position. Peterson is a workhorse and Mike Zimmer plans on using him that way, but at the age of 30 he may need some rest and having McKinnon and Asiata could be a big help.
The Vikings are confident in Bridgewater and the team may have gotten the best quarterback in that draft class despite taking him with the last pick in the first round. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner had high praise for Bridgewater after the season and he said that Peterson should help make the offense more consistent in 2015. Peterson rushed for 75 yards in one game last season and while he is getting older, he will be well rested for this season after missing nearly all of last year.
The wear and tear that Peterson avoided last year could be huge for his career moving forward, even though he obviously was not happy with how last season went. Peterson reportedly wanted out of Minnesota through a trade this offseason, but that did not happen and it doesn't look like it's going to happen this year. The offense should be better with the addition of Mike Wallace, as he now will take over as the number one receiver and that may mean less pressure on Cordarrelle Patterson.
Patterson had a strong rookie season, but he had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2014 and now he is hoping to rebound. Wallace was acquired in a trade this offseason and he could be the replacement for Percy Harvin that the team has been looking for. The offense needed more weapons and now Patterson will not have as much pressure on him in the number two spot. Wallace has great speed and after a couple disappointing seasons in Miami, he could have a bounce back year under Turner.
Mike Zimmer said that Peterson has not shown "any rust" in OTA workouts, but the team likely will be careful with the running back and his usage this season. Peterson was out of action for a year and at the age of 30 the Vikings may have to be more careful than usual with his carries. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Peterson may sit out for most if not all of the preseason, as offensive coordinator Norv Turner has done that with his backs in the past. Peterson has had over 600 touches the past three years and that could be a factor in how much he does during the preseason.