When the 2015 season ended, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said that he was going to focus on working out of the shotgun this offseason. It was apparent throughout the season that offensive coordinator Norv Turner had some trouble balancing the strengths of Peterson and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Peterson preferred to be lined up with the quarterback under center and Bridgewater seemed to prefer lining up in the shotgun. It even reached a point where, toward the end of the season, if the offense was in the shotgun later on in games it was running back Jerick McKinnon in the backfield, not Peterson, and he wants to change that.
Peterson wants to become a more well-rounded player that can contribute in every phase of the game, so he really focused in on becoming more comfortable with the route tree.
“You’ve got a young guy, Jerick, he’s an incredible athlete and he does a great job when it comes to providing that scat-back for us when he’s out there,” Peterson said. “So just being more involved in that aspect.”
Peterson said that he is not only working on learning the different routes that the team’s running backs are asked to run, but also working on being more agile while running them. He wants to be more flexible coming in and out of his breaks, which will also come as he continues to get more comfortable.
He spent a lot of time on his own this offseason, just looking over the playbook he has and going through all the different routes.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1672756-video-zimmer-at-otas “You just get out and you run routes,” he said. “I’ve got my playbook and you just go out and, whether it’s after the workout, you get 10 routes in on each. Maybe it’s the flat, maybe it’s the option route - you just kind of go through it and just kind of pinpoint being patient, depending on what route and the concept that’s being called. That’s how you improve that way.”
It would not make much sense for the Vikings to just run a pass play every time they line up in the shotgun, though. They also have to be able to run the ball out of it and that is another area Peterson really wanted to focus on. The problem with that, however, is that it is hard to work on running the ball when he is working out on his own.
That is what makes his participation in the team’s organized team activities this offseason so important. He is really trying to improve running out of the shotgun and slowing things down when he does.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/vikings/story/1669803-subscribe-today-member-be... “The biggest thing is just me being more patient. That’s something that, of course, you go through practice reps and doing that as well,” Peterson said. “That was something that I was more conscious of last year and that will be an easier transition for me, being more patient. I feel like the last couple of days I have done a pretty good job of doing that, but still room to improve.”
The All-Pro running back thought back to one play in particular on Wednesday when he wasn’t patient enough. He said that he thought he was being patient initially, but ended up going too fast and by doing that he did not let the play develop properly. Now, he is going to look at that play in the film room, learn from it and keep on moving forward.
“On that play, there was a little more penetration, so I think that sparked me to speed it up,” he said. “But even in that instance I still have to be a little more patient than I was.”
There is likely going to still be a little bit of discomfort for Peterson when running out of the shotgun because it is not something he has had to do much of throughout his career. It is not something that is easily picked up overnight and it will continue to require time and attention.
The good thing for the Vikings offense, though, is that he seems determined on improving himself in that area. If he is able to become more comfortable in the shotgun, it will only help with Bridgewater’s development and the success of the team.