Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Adrian Peterson could benefit from Turner
By Ben Goessling
MINNEAPOLIS -- When we talked with Adrian Peterson this month about his reaction to the Minnesota Vikings hiring head coach Mike Zimmer, the 2012 NFL MVP made it clear the Vikings' next move -- namely, hiring an offensive coordinator to help Peterson while Zimmer brought his expertise to the team's defense -- would resonate loudly with him as he processed the team's new direction.
Peterson was more outspoken than anyone else on the Vikings' roster about his desire to keep Leslie Frazier, and though he's always seemed to understand -- and said again this month -- that his opinions only carry so much weight in the organization -- he has been bolder about stating his preferences in recent months. But his comments to USA Today yesterday would suggest that the Vikings have done right by Peterson, at least in hiring offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
As we talked about this month, Turner could be exactly what Peterson needs at this point in his career. Turner took a San Diego Chargers offense built around running back LaDainian Tomlinson and turned it into a more diverse -- and ultimately, more dangerous -- attack when Tomlinson was 28 years old, and Turner's bona fides as a passing-game engineer are well-established. He'll likely put more receivers on the field, make more liberal use of tight end Kyle Rudolph, and ultimately attempt to give defenses more to think about than just Peterson, who has logged more carries against eight-man fronts than any running back in football each of the past two seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
It never seemed like Peterson was going to let his disappointment over the Frazier firing linger, but it was important for the Vikings to do right by him as they put together their next coaching staff. At least for now, it seems they've done that, and as Peterson gets to work with Turner, he could find he'll be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Turner's approach.