Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has stated one public goal for the offseason. He wants to put on weight to become more of a load for NFL defenses and presumably be able to better handle the rigors of being a workhorse back.
Running back Adrian Peterson
led the NFL in rushing in his second season, but there remains plenty of room for improvement. Peterson must improve in pass protection, take a step forward in becoming a receiving threat, and needs to cut down on his league-leading fumble total.
But Peterson also has another goal for himself: add weight. During the week leading up to the Pro Bowl, Peterson told the Associated Press he wants to put an additional 7 to 12 pounds to his 6-1, 218-pound frame this offseason. The key for Peterson will be to put the weight on without decreasing his explosiveness.
"That would be pretty nice," Peterson said. "I don't think too many guys would be excited to see me at 230 (pounds) two times a year."
Peterson went on to explain that the additional weight also will help him endure the long season and make him "more explosive." There is little doubt Peterson made the decision after playing in all 17 games this season, including one in the postseason. As a rookie in 2007, Peterson missed two games because of a knee injury. Peterson touched the ball 385 times this season (363 rushes, 21 catches, 1 kick return) after having 273 touches (238 rushes, 19 catches, 16 kick returns) in his first year. Peterson rushed for 1,760 yards in 2008 but he also took a pounding and fumbled nine times, losing four of them. Peterson did not say whether he had the Vikings blessing to bulk up.
Center Matt Birk did not win the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award but he was among the three finalists after being named the Vikings Man of the Year the past seven seasons. Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner earned the league honor for this season.
Former Vikings guard Randall McDaniel has yet to announce who will serve as his presenter for his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.
RB Adrian Peterson had a game-high eight rushing attempts in the NFC's 30-21 victory over the AFC in the Pro Bowl but that was still eight fewer carries than Peterson had en route to winning that game's MVP award a year ago. Peterson rushed for 129 yards in his first Pro Bowl and 48 yards this season.
The Vikings continue to look for a replacement for defensive line assistant Brendan Daly, who was hired to coach the defensive line in St. Louis. However, the team has filled other some other spots. Special teams assistant Brian Murphy was promoted to replace Paul Ferraro as special-teams coordinator and Chad O'Shea was then moved to assistant special teams coach. O'Shea also will continue to assist George Stewart with the wide receivers.
Brad Childress and other members of the Vikings coaching staff and front office have been spending long hours in meetings at Winter Park the past few weeks. Among the decisions that must be made are whether to make an attempt to bring back free agent center Matt Birk and safety Darren Sharper. Both likely will be allowed to walk. The quarterback position is another area of focus. Tarvaris Jackson has yet to prove he's worthy of being a starter in the NFL and the Vikings could look elsewhere for help. Among the team's potential is the Patriots' Matt Cassel.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Nothing that he does will surprise me. I expect him to get back and be there the first day of OTAs because that's his expectation." — Vikings coach Brad Childress, when asked about defensive end Kenechi Udeze saying he expects to return by the start of organized team activities. Udeze missed last season after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but he is doing very well and has resumed training.