Adrian Peterson has company when it comes being critical of the offense former Minnesota Vikings coordinator Bill Musgrave implemented over the previous three years.
On Monday, Peterson promoted the idea advanced by many Vikings observers last year: they were a predicable offense.
“I’m sure you guys wrote stories about us being predictable the past seven years. You won’t be able to write that story this year,” Peterson said. “That’s pretty much all I’m saying: You won’t be able to do that, because this offense is so versatile.”
Wide receiver Jerome Simpson not only agreed with Peterson’s assessment of the offense being predictable, but he believes that may have contributed to the injuries Peterson experienced.
“We were not using everybody to the best of their abilities and we were a little vanilla last year,” Simpson said. “That’s kind of the reason why Adrian stayed banged up a lot because it was predictable what we were going to run.”
Was it the offense, Peterson aging or simple coincidence that Peterson had surgery each of the last three offseasons?
Peterson spent most of November and December on the injury reports with groin and foot injuries and missed two of the final three games because of the groin injury believed to be linked to the abdominal earlier surgery this year. He was also on October’s injury reports with a hamstring issue.
Receiver Greg Jennings believes that the new offensive system and philosophy being implemented by Norv Turner will relieve some of pounding on Peterson.
“We were heavy, heavy, heavy run game, where I think now we’re going to take a lot more stress off of Adrian. He’s still going to get a heavy dosage of runs, but I think what Norv brings to the table, it’s going to bring a more balanced offense – pass to open up run and run to open up pass,” Jennings said. “He’s going to be more cognizant of that aspect of the offense instead of just driving home run, run, run because we’re a hard-nosed football team. I think we can still be a physical football team and still be able to throw the ball.”
The Vikings finished 2013 eighth in rushing yards per game and second in rushing yards per play. However, they were only tied for 18th in team rushing attempts last year, although Peterson finished tied for sixth with 279 of those attempts despite missing two games.
Simpson said the offense under Turner can be as explosive as it wants, but he also sent out a caution for the preseason.
“We’re not going to run every play in the preseason, but we’ve covered a lot of the playbook,” he said. “Each week is going to be different just because of the team. That’s just the game plan with the different plays. We’ve covered a lot in a short amount of time.”
Head coach Mike Zimmer has already said Peterson’s usage in the preseason will be minimal.
“I believe in all the pieces on this team, all the guys,” Simpson said. “We’ve just got to be put in the right position to make plays and everything will work itself out.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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