Minnesota will be riding Adrian Peterson’s coattail, yet again

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Updated: September 1, 2016
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For Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, this is nothing new. It’s just another season where he’ll have to shoulder the load for his team, in hopes of making a playoff run.

After hearing the news that third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a complete ACL tear, and other structural damage to his knee, the Vikings find themselves in a precarious situation. Head coach Mike Zimmer has kept his cool, but it’s obvious that Bridgewater’s injury is a crushing blow to what Minnesota had planned this year.

Bridgewater responded today with the following message:

I want to thank the Wilf Family and the entire Vikings organization, all of my teammates, friends, Eric Sugarman and the amazing Vikings athletic training staff and the fans who have sent me messages and wished me well. Your thoughts and prayers mean a lot to me and have helped me in this difficult time. There are great players and great leaders in our locker room who are going to fight to the end to reach the goals we set for 2016. I will be there mentally, physically and in spirit to support them accomplish those goals.

In order to have a testimony, you have to have a test. I come from amazing DNA, I watched my mom fight and win against breast cancer. We will, as a team, attack my rehab with the same vigor and energy. My faith is strong, my faith is unwavering and my vision is clear. My purpose will not be denied.

He helped take some of the pressure off Peterson in 2015, giving the team a quarterback who can be a leader and playmaker — something the Vikings lacked before drafting the former Louisville star. Peterson was suspended for all but one game during Bridgewater’s rookie season in 2014, but when they shared the field for all 16 last year, it led to an NFC North title for the first time since 2009. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had previously won the division in four straight years, from 2011-2014.

After witnessing the injury, Zimmer came out and made statements like: “We’re not going to stick our heads in the sand, tuck our tail between our legs…we’re going to fight like we always do.” And he remains confident that his team can get over this hump and have a successful season. “Everyone can count us out, but I think that’d be the wrong thing to do,” Zimmer said during his press conference.

Not to say the Vikings have no shot without Bridgewater, but it does make life a little tougher for the purple and white. However, knowing they have arguably the best running back in the business, a stout defense and a self-assured coach running the show, the Vikings still have a proper recipe for success. But it won’t be by throwing the ball all over the field. It’ll be from having a productive rushing attack, and an elite defense.

This is familiar territory for Peterson. He’s played alongside a myriad of quarterbacks during his time in the NFL. Before Bridgewater, there was Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte, Brett Favre, Joe Webb, Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman and Matt Cassel. The Cleveland Browns aren’t the only team that’s struggled to find consistency at the position.

Despite that, Peterson has continued to be one of the most productive running backs the game has seen. He’s rushed for over 1,000 yards in seven of his nine NFL seasons. And the two seasons where he didn’t break the 1,000-yard mark — 2011 and 2014 — it was due to either injury or suspension.

He’ll now lineup behind quarterback Shaun Hill, a 36-year-old veteran who began his NFL tenure playing with the Vikings. He’s started a total of 34 games during his career, but has never had the luxury of handing the ball off to someone as talented as AP.

Peterson is the ultimate safety blanket for a quarterback. There’s nothing he can’t do. And even though he’s heading into his 10th season, Peterson will once again be called upon to be a superman-like player for the Vikings. Halfbacks have a reputation for regressing once they hit their 30s. But Peterson, 31, is a different type of animal. A different type of beast. And in order for the Vikings to be competitive this season, he’ll have to stay healthy and be the player we’ve grown accustomed to watching run through, and over, opposing defenses.

Josiah Turner

Josiah Turner

Josiah is the founder and editor-in-chief at Sideline Sports Report. He is a writer for ESPN, and has written for Rant Sports and FanSided covering the Washington Redskins. He's also covered high school basketball for Virginia Preps (Rivals.com). Josiah is from Chesapeake, VA and a college graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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2 Comments

  1. Marden

    October 30, 2016 at 9:45 pm

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