Is One Weapon Enough for the Vikings?
In 2006, a Vikings' running back set a team record for the longest run from scrimmage on a 95-yard touchdown in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks. He broke 1000 rushing yards for the first time in his NFL career, and his break-away speed earned him the nickname “The Cheetah” amongst his teammates. With that in mind, Minnesota fans and players were incredibly excited when the Minnesota Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson out of Oklahoma in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

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Whispers and rumblings started about the Vikings breeding what would be called a “two-headed monster,” in which two running backs posed a monstrous threat when it came to making huge plays.  Coverage on one running back would open the other for screens and short slant routes, and two decent sized guys to block and make tackles seemed like components in a perfect recipe for success in the running game.  Though this would have been a breath of fresh air for an offense struggling under the command of a rookie quarterback, it’s quite obvious after losing three of their first four games that this isn’t going to be the Vikings' year.

What many people failed to acknowledge amidst the rumblings of a strong run game was that Chester Taylor spent his first four years as a backup to Jamal Lewis on the Ravens after being the 35th pick in the 6th round of the 2002 NFL draft. When he joined the Vikings in 2006, there was no competition to be a standout player, and his explosive speed helped the Vikings win more games than they had any right to.

Adrian Peterson, on the other hand, has done great things in his first few games. Brad Childress angrily dismissed charges that Peterson was under utilized in the Vikings’ Sept. 30th loss to the Packers and promised that Peterson would be vital in the Vikings' attempt to win their second game of the season against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 14th. With incredible speed, the ability to barrel over defensive lineman, and an understanding of where defensive players are on the field that is seldom seen in rookies, Adrian Peterson has the potential to be something great. Unfortunately, with the lack of cohesion between the ever-changing quarterback, the bumbling defensive line, and a receiving core that can’t hang on to the ball, it seems as though Peterson will inevitably end up frustrated and unable to carry the team.

No team can rely solely on one player.  With inconsistencies in Chester Taylor’s game and all of the problems surrounding the offense, the Vikings seem to be looking to Peterson to carry the team on his back. While I would love to believe, as so many others seem to, that Peterson can turn things around, running backs rarely carry teams to regular victories. One weapon simply is not enough to build success in a team.  All eyes will be on Taylor in the coming weeks to start rising to the level that Peterson is playing at and if that happens, the Vikings’ run game may very well be a force to be reckoned with.

By T. Lloyd,
October 11, 2007