Adrian Peterson has nearly 10 times the rushes as receptions in his career. Carrying the ball will still be the bread and butter for the All-Pro back, but he is expecting more of a role in the passing game this year.
It will be the first year that the Vikings offense will be under the control of coordinator Norv Turner.
"I'm pretty excited about that. The whole running back room is, just to be more diverse as an offense. And being more involved in the pass game is something I've been looking forward to for a long time," Peterson said Thursday after the second of 10 organized team activities.
"I'm excited. I'm excited to be in this offense. Just, as a whole, what Coach Turner brings is pretty amazing and more free. (We are) able to digest everything as a group and I think it's going to be fun."
Last year's run-to-reception ratio was typical for Peterson's career. He carried the ball 279 times and caught it 29. Only once in his career has Peterson caught more than 40 passes and that was in 2009, when he caught 43 passes from Brett Favre on the way to helping the Vikings to their only NFC Championship Game in the last 10 years.
Earlier this month, after his first personal exposure to Turner's offense at the veteran minicamp prior to the draft, Peterson said the offense was "like performing heart surgery without a license."
On Thursday, he was closer to getting his license in Turner's offense while comparing it to surgeon's work.
"I still want to practice on the side. I got to rent a heart or something. But where I'm at now, the terminology, I'm starting to pick it up even more," Peterson said. "It's all about staying in that playbook, understanding the terminology and breaking the play down. It's going well."
Peterson became more involved in Thursday's practice that he was during the predraft camp, not just with the passing game but also in the running game as he recovers from surgery to repair his adductor muscle.
"He looks great. He's made some tremendous cuts," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "I think he's – you'd have to ask him, but he seems to be excited to be here, about some of the things that's we're trying do to with him, but I think it's only going to continue to get better. But it's good for him to be here and I know other places there are other things going on, but I told him I appreciate him being here."
Peterson's surgery was performed in late January with about a six-week recovery expected.
"I'm well enough to go out and perform and not really feel like I'm going to injure myself or hurt myself," he said. "I still have a little work to do to get the strength back in the groin, but I'm comfortable when I'm out there practicing."
Without Toby Gerhart to back him up, rookie Jerick McKinnon, who fits the change-of-pace type of back that Turner has used successfully in the past, was getting a good amount of action, too. McKinnon was a third-round draft pick of the Vikings.
"I like the kid," Peterson said. "He's quiet, but he's a hard worker. A smart kid, you can see he's hungry to learn. When I'm watching him in meetings and things, and out here at practice, he's definitely picking up things, picking up the offense well. He's quick, got some great explosiveness that I've seen. I think he's going to be able to do some good things."
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.
Peterson settling into Turner's offense
Viking Update Top Stories
Did rotating tackles affect Vikings?The Minnesota Vikings took the unusual step of rotating their offensive tackles in the first half of Sunday’s loss. Did that affect their performance? Alex Boone reacted to that,…
Viking Update12:42 PM
Jake Long: 'I can't make those excuses'Minnesota Vikings tackle Jake Long said he needs to play better and he will, and he isn't letting "rust" or anything else be used as an excuse.
Viking Update10:32 AM
Cutler’s back, drawing angry Vikings defenseThe Bears announced Monday that, in the midst of Chicago’s World Series frenzy, local goat Jay Cutler will be making his return to playing action. How will it go? The Minnesota…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:02 PM
Notebook: Problems extended beyond pass proThe Minnesota Vikings had obvious problems with pass protection, but there are other areas head coach Mike Zimmer is addressing, too.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:41 PM