So far, the Vikings are very pleased they didn't follow the pattern when the seventh-overall pick came up. The running back not only has remained healthy — a collarbone injury had been the latest concern — but appears to be on track for Rookie of the Year honors.
Peterson took a first step toward that distinction when he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for his performance in September. Peterson rushed for a team-leading 383 yards and had 549 all-purpose yards in the four games. He also has a rushing touchdown and another on a 60-yard reception in the Vikings' victory over Atlanta in the opener.
In four games, he has tied the Vikings' rookie record set by Chuck Foreman in 1973 with three 100-yard rushing games.
Peterson's statistics would be even more impressive if he had been allowed to carry a larger amount of the workload in the Vikings' 23-16 loss to Green Bay in Week 4. Peterson had 19 rushing attempt against the Falcons and followed that with 20 and 25 carries in losses to Detroit and Kansas City.
Veteran running back Chester Taylor, who is coming off a 1,000-yard season and remains the starter, missed the latter two games because of a hip injury. He returned against the Packers, impacting Peterson's carries.
The rookie had a career-high 112 yards on 12 attempts in the game, but 108 of those yards came on 10 first half carries. He was handed the ball only twice in the second half.
This came after Peterson was held out of the Vikings' final drive at Kansas City because of concerns about his pass-blocking ability.
Coach Brad Childress made it clear that Peterson and Taylor are going to share carries when both are healthy. But Peterson is the only real play-maker on an otherwise suspect offense and keeping him off the field seems like a curious move at best.
The Vikings have talked about using Peterson and Taylor together in certain packages but that happened only once against the Packers.
Childress, though, was vague on this, saying there "is an opportunity."
Added Childress: "I would think that what you would end up seeing is a mix of that in a 60-play game. It just depends on what you think the defense will do to adjust to that. (If) they are just going to play you as regular personnel, then you probably have a chance to be able to look and see if you have a mismatch."