His 348 carries that year weren’t even a career high, though, with Peterson averaging a whopping 290.4 totes per season before last autumn’s lost campaign.
“No question that the workload will be a lot more balanced than in the past because the organization has done an outstanding job of acquiring talent and other explosive pieces,” Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson told Around The NFL on Thursday. “And just as the natural progression as an older back ages, the workload decreases anyway.”
Wilson was quick to point out that Peterson has been “extremely explosive” in practice and “still has electric foot speed,” saying: “I don’t see any difference from the guy who left here X amount of months ago.”
“I think (McKinnon’s) going to continue to improve and grow and mature, not only as an NFL starter-caliber runner, but as a premier, dynamic playmaker that you can count on every Sunday for X amount of plays,” Wilson said. “… And he showed flashes of that type of ability last year early on. So we’re all extremely excited about the potential that he has and what he can bring and add to our offense.”
Fantasy owners need not to freak: Wilson pointed out that a revised role for Peterson doesn’t necessarily mean fewer carries.
“I think it’s more about snaps per game, because that’s what you have to watch in regard to the wear and tear,” Wilson said. “How he’ll last for the season is the snaps per game, not the carries or attempts per game, because that comes with the territory. He’s going to get his amount of touches that he gets, it’s the other snaps and plays that will determine how successful he is at lasting during the season and being powerful, strong, aggressive and explosive.”
Bottom line: Peterson still remains a candidate to lead the league in rushing, but he finds himself surrounded by more talent now, especially through the air. Added weapons and a solid young quarterback will give defenses more to think about, making A.P. all the more dangerous for a Vikings squad with playoff aspirations.
The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Jeff Darlington to discuss minicamp stories, and Conor Orr calls in for the debut of a new segment. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.