A year ago at this time, questions about Adrian Peterson centered on whether or not the running back would be ready for the opening of training camp and the start of the regular season.
The Minnesota Vikings running back completed an incredible personal return from ACL reconstruction and he’s in much better shape this spring, four months after sports hernia surgery. Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards a year ago, nearly establishing an NFL record, and he’s looking forward to this season.
Peterson is participating in OTA’s and doing more strength work that he was unable to do last spring. Maybe there will be a new wrinkle to his game too. Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Peterson would like to become more involved in the passing game.
“A lot of people have this misconception that, 'Adrian cannot catch the ball.' And that's so false,” Peterson said. “They've really never thrown it to the running backs (here). But (Brett) Favre believed in us more and he (was) checking it down to us and getting the ball into our hand in the open field.”
Peterson would be an easy target for quarterback Christian Ponder as a check-down receiver. The Vikings simply need to design it a little better. Peterson caught 40 passes last season but for only 217 yards – a 5.4 average. He caught 43 balls for 436 yards in 2009 and there is no reason to think that with his open-field ability he cannot average 10 yards per catch like that. It will be interesting to see early in the season if the team makes an effort to get the ball to Peterson in space more often.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune