Adrian Peterson’s absence from this weekend’s mandatory minicamp and 2nd round pick Toby Gerhart’s hectic travel schedule and immersion into the Vikings offense over the past several days have been hot topics of conversation over the weekend.
They are the team’s 2 highest-profile RBs but neither of them will be at Winter Park as the team wraps up minicamp with a Sunday morning practice. Peterson’s absence is due to the 4th annual “Adrian Peterson Day” in the superstar’s hometown of Palestine, TX and Gerhart left town on Saturday evening to attend commencement ceremonies at Stanford (he’ll be back to Winter Park for next week).
One of the RBs who will be at Winter Park for the final practice of minicamp is Darius Reynaud, who joined the Vikings 3 years ago as an undrafted college free agent WR but is transitioning to RB for the 2010 season. In previous seasons with the Vikings, Reynaud has contributed primarily as a punt returner and occasionally as a WR. But moving Reynaud to RB may give the shifty playmaker a better opportunity to contribute more frequently on offense.
Reynaud played RB in high school and at West Virginia University, so the idea isn’t foreign to him. But there are still some natural and sizable hurdles for him to overcome.
“You know he is taking a good look at things back there,” Childress said when asked about Reynaud’s transition. “I don’t know if that is surprising because he was a running back at West Virginia. But he is doing a pretty good job.”
Childress also mentioned that the next step in evaluating Reynaud’s transition is seeing how he carries his pads as a RB. The Vikings have worked without pads during OTAs and minicamp.
Another factor in the transition will be pass protection. Reynaud, who switched from jersey #82 to #27, looks natural with the ball in his hands and has a penchant for making defenders whiff on tackles. But playing RB in the NFL is more about breaking tackles and picking up yardage.
“That is going to be a big thing to be able to see if you can master that in a short time,” Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said of Reynaud learning pass protection. “Again, not his willingness to block but just all the nuances of where we are protecting and how we are getting that done and where he fits in will be his biggest challenge probably.”
Tags: Darius Reynaud, Darrell Bevell
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