Toby Gerhart on Peterson, Stanford, Rose
December, 31, 2012
By Lynn Hoppes | ESPN.com
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsToby Gerhart, right, has had no problem taking a backseat to Adrian Peterson this season.Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart had only one carry for 2 yards in Sunday's 37-34 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
The third-year running back out of Stanford finished the season with only 50 rushes for 169 yards and one touchdown. That's down from 109 attempts and 531 yards last season.
But Gerhart said he feels fortunate and blessed.
"At times, it might get frustrating because I'm a competitor and I want to be the one to get all the carries," said Gerhart, who was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. "But I realize that I have a job in the NFL, and I make good money. And I'm playing and learning behind one of the best in NFL history."
That "best" would be Adrian Peterson, who this season finished only 9 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. Peterson, who had reconstructive knee surgery exactly one year ago, rushed for 199 yards Sunday to finish the season with 2,097 yards.
"Adrian is a beast. Find any synonym. It's been my honor to work with him," Gerhart said. "We have a great relationship. He'll come off the field and ask me what I saw. I'm his second pair of eyes. That's how I stay in tune with the game. My time will come."
Gerhart holds the Stanford records for most rushing yards in a season (1,871), most touchdowns in a season (28) and most touchdowns in a career (44). He won the Doak Walker Award and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 2009.
This season, with the Vikings playing in the NFL playoffs this weekend, Gerhart will have to watch Stanford on television instead of attending the bowl game. The Cardinal will play Wisconsin Tuesday in the Rose Bowl.
"I think it'll be a good game with two powerful rushing offenses," said Gerhart, who attended the past two bowl games. "I think it's going to be a heck of a game."
Gerhart is working with Vizio on a Rose Bowl fan project. Fans can score points for their team by declaring their allegiance on this Vizio “Fandemonium” site as well as earn points for every Instagram picture or tweet they post using custom hashtags #VizioStanford and #VizioWisconsin. On Tuesday, fan posts and images will be featured on the Rose Bowl Game giant video screen and on ESPN.com.
"It was a dream come true to go to Stanford. It epitomizes excellence, academically and athletically. It's the best thing that has happened to me," Gerhart said. "As a kid, I always wanted to play football. I had a great college experience and now I'm in the NFL. I'm very blessed."