Peterson the pass-catcher? Maybe

Adrian Peterson said he is excited about the possibilities Norv Turner's offense holds. One of those possibilities is seeing Peterson catch more passes after seeing more than 90 percent of his offensive touches dedicated to running the ball so far in his career.

Adrian Peterson said being around Norv Turner's offense is like performing heart surgery without a license. We assume that means it's dangerous and a bit complex.

"It's all growing pains that we're all going through, but I'm excited to see what we're going to be able to do here in the future, but we have a long ways to go," Peterson said after the Vikings concluded a veteran minicamp afforded to them because they hired a new head coach after last season.

The roles of most of the skill-position players are expected to change with the arrival of Turner's offense in Minnesota. But the change could be most dramatic for Peterson, whose touches on offense to this point in his career have been more than 90 percent dedicated to running the ball.

In addition to featuring the deep passing game for wide receivers, Turner's offense is known for getting the ball to the running back in the passing game. To this point, Peterson has averaged less than two receptions per game over his career.

"(I'm) definitely going to be involved more in the pass game," Peterson said after spending a few days immersed in Turner's system. "That's something I look forward to. When he was in San Diego and Cleveland, he always found a way to get the running back out in space. So, I knew once we hired him that will be something new for me. I'm pretty excited about that.

"… If you're getting eight to 10 catches – that's a pretty high number, I would think – it'll kind of balance out. The rushing yards might not be up to par, but it's not about that. It's all about winning. I'm trying to win a championship, so if that's taking less of a pounding and being more productive in the pass game, I'm all in for it."

Peterson said he isn't necessarily talking about a reduced role for himself, and it doesn't seem like Turner's style to shy away from the best player on offense.

Turner found a way to dramatically increase the production of receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Cameron Jordan in Turner's only season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2013. In San Diego, it was a running back, LaDainian Tomlinson, that thrived in Turner's system.

"There's no question any offense is based on getting its best players involved. Adrian is obviously our best player, but we have a lot of other guys who can make plays and in the best offenses I've been able to utilize everybody," Turner said. "You get five guys who can legally handle the ball and we want to use them all. We want to be a diversified offense that can make explosive plays, but we want to run the football and certainly that starts with Adrian."

Peterson said he is about 80 percent recovered from adductor surgery in January and wanted to attend the voluntary minicamp, in part, to get to know Turner's offense. But with players only in helmets for minicamp, Peterson wasn't limited any more than anyone else.

"I have no doubts that when the season comes around, I'll be ready to roll," Peterson said.

His role in the passing game, however, is still evolving.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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