The big news in the Vikings RB stable this offseason was the rehab of Adrian Peterson from a knee injury. Though Peterson’s rehab has been executed to plan, conventional wisdom suggested that the Vikings would lean on backup Toby Gerhart a bit more in 2012 while Peterson worked his way back to form.
Gerhart is indeed poised for an increased role in the Vikings offense this season, but it’s becoming apparent that the increased role is more a function of Gerhart’s improvement than it is of Peterson’s recovery from injury. In two preseason games this year, Gerhart has 11 carries for 61 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 1 reception for 19 yards. He looks the part of a starting-caliber NFL RB. Aside from that production, Gerhart has displayed his improvement in other areas as well.
“Toby has made strides in the pass protection realm of his game,” Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave explained. “He’s always been smart, but I think his technique is better this year. He’s playing with lower pad level. Running the ball, too, he seems to be more assertive. A little bit quicker to hit the hole.”
Gerhart occupying a prominent role in the offense may be new to Vikings fans, but to those who’ve followed his career, it’s commonplace. He was a standout player at Stanford over four seasons, and during his time there he was a unanimous All-American, won the 2009 Doak Walker Award (honors nation’s top college RB) and was a runner-up in Heisman voting in 2009 as well.
That kind of recognition is in the rear view mirror, now, and ahead of him is another shot at a productive season.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Bill Musgrave, Toby Gerhart
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