The Minnesota Vikings have Adrian Peterson back and he is ready to start ahead of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata on the depth chart this season and this will be his first real chance in the Norv Turner offense and he should be a big help for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater along with Mike Wallace, as the wide receiver should take pressure off of Cordarrelle Patterson.
Bridgewater had a very solid rookie season last year and he did it without Peterson being in the lineup. Peterson is back after a hectic offseason that was him suspended, win an appeal and threaten a contract holdout before reporting to OTA workouts. The team is now into minicamp and Peterson has been back to work under his current deal, which pays him over $40 million over the next three seasons. Peterson is making nearly $13 million this year and he could potentially holdout in the future.
Right now all appears well for Peterson and head coach Mike Zimmer said that he has shown "no rust" in coming back from a year off the field. Peterson played in only one game last season before being placed on the exempt list and now moving forward he is not facing any further suspension from the NFL. Peterson could sit out for the preseason after coming back, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the team may be cautious with the running back after training camp.
Peterson is 30 years old and while a year off from the wear and tear of the NFL could be helpful, the Vikings also need to be mindful of the running backs age and value. According to NFL.com, Vikings RBs coach Kirby Wilson said that the team will be careful with Peterson coming back after a year off, as the team wants to ensure that he stays fresh through the season. Wilson said that while the team will not be "limiting" any carries, they will "monitor the snap count" for Peterson each week.
The team had Asiata and McKinnon step up for Peterson last season and now those two add some solid depth at the position behind Peterson. The Vikings were prepared to go forward with McKinnon as the starter if Peterson held out or wanted a trade and now the team has him as the first backup on the depth chart ahead of Asiata. Peterson said to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he expects to be more involved in the passing game in this offense with Norv Turner and Zimmer said McKinnon also could see more looks on third down this season.
Last season McKinnon played in 11 games and rushed for 538 yards and two touchdowns while adding 27 catches for 135 yards. Peterson has not been much of a receiver out of the backfield during his career and he also will have to get used to running more out of the shotgun with Bridgewater as the quarterback. Adding Mike Wallace in a trade should be good for the Vikings offense, as the team was ranked in the bottom half of the league in passing yards per game last season. Wallace should help take pressure off of both Bridgewater and young receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.