Backup RBs Are “2 And 2A”

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 30, 2010 – 2:07 pm

Ever since Chester Taylor left the team via free agency to join division rival Chicago, Vikings followers have been trying to identify the individual who would replace the role of complementing Adrian Peterson. It is, after all, an important role given today’s NFL where a 2-back rotation is the way to go and it’s actually more common to have 3 solid RBs than 1 workhorse.

The search for Taylor’s replacement began with veterans such as LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook and then continued through the 2010 NFL Draft. In the end, the Vikings went to training camp with 2nd round rookie Toby Gerhart and 2nd-year pro Albert Young, a guy who has risen from the practice squad and now figures to be a contributor this season.

It was Young who got the start for the Vikings 1st preseason game, with Gerhart being worked in slowly after that. And then on Saturday night Gerhart got the start. The 2 RBs have been sharing reps and as a result it’s never been clear who the true #2 RB is. And that’s because there will be no clear-cut #2 RB, according to head coach Brad Childress.

“I think it will be by week and who we are facing and what exactly we need out of a second running back,” Childress explained after practice on Monday. “If you remember last year, there were a number of games where we didn’t have a third running back up and from time-to-time that will happen when maybe we need another tight end up or need another rush guy. So those guys are 2 and 2/A.”

Time will tell exactly how the Vikings offensive staff deploys Gerhart and Young. My sense is that Young is more solid in 3rd down scenarios, specifically pass protection, while Gerhart provides a better presence in the run game, specifically looking at the inside zone running scheme.

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Positive Signs Regarding Harvin’s Status

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 30, 2010 – 6:05 am

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress used the phrase “in flux” to describe his offense last week and after Saturday night’s preseason victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Part of the reason the Vikings offense has been in flux over recent weeks is because Percy Harvin’s status has been in flux as well.

Harvin has missed extended time over the last month or so due to a death in the family and his migraine condition. Migraines forced Harvin out of action last season and then the condition resurfaced a couple weeks ago. But last year’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year was able to suit up on Saturday night against Seattle and haul in a pair of receptions for 30 yards, a positive indication for his near-term status.

“I was,” Childress responded when asked if he was encouraged by Harvin’s performance on Saturday night. “I would like to see him more active in the offense. There are some signs of rust, you can tell from some of those routes he ran. It’s just good to see his smiling face out there. He didn’t seem any worse for the wear. He took a couple pretty good licks.”

Harvin took one hit early in the game that caused his helmet to become dislodged and then he took another hit later in the game that caused him to pause for a moment before rising to his feet. But he seemed fine on standing on the sidelines once the 1st-offense was removed from the game and he also was in good spirits while speaking with reporters on the field following the game and with Childress in the locker room after the game.

“We’re feeling really confident,” Harvin said. “I know we said that a couple times, but I think this time we found what the main cause was. I’m not saying I’ll never get a headache again, but hopefully we can slow it down a little bit. … It’s not life-threatening, but it’s something we need to work on and I will.”

Harvin had more to say in a story posted on the Star Tribune’s website by Mark Craig.

Although Harvin’s battle with migraines have been a life-long ordeal and will likely remain that way during his NFL career, recent developments have produced positive signs for his near-term future. And that’s a good thing for the Vikings and, more importantly, Harvin.

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