Toby Gerhart braces for a “big role”

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The Vikings gave the rest of the league a mild surprise by taking running back Toby Gerhart with a second-round pick in the 2010 draft.  Gerhart is now getting ready to repay the Vikings for their faith in him.

“I’m looking, going into the season, to have a big role,” Gerhart told Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com on Sunday.

“I don’t know how big it will be,” Gerhart said.  “But I’m looking like I’m going to be the starter from Day One and have to be the starter all the way on through until Adrian is back and ready and full-speed.  I’m excited about that.  I’m ready to embrace that and go out and help this team win and really show people what I can do.”

Gerhart nevertheless realizes that, when the games count, he may not have the kind of opportunities he’d like to have.

“I think [Adrian Peterson] will [play in the opener],” Gerhart said.  “You can never be surprised with Adrian.  The way he comes to work every day, the way he pushes himself — he was flying around, straight-line speed, moving out there, racing Percy up the hill, doing conditioning stuff. . . .  I haven’t seen him in a couple weeks now, but I’m sure he’s continued to make leaps and bounds in progress, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s ready.  You can never count Adrian out.”

As Gerhart enters his third season, he says his body has been “transformed” and that he feels “stronger and quicker.”

In 2011, Gerhart started five games in place of Peterson, and the former Stanford tailback gained 531 yards rushing on 109 carries, for a 4.9-yard average.

Even if Peterson is able to play as of Week One against the Jaguars, the Vikings likely will bring Peterson along slowly, which means that Gerhart will likely get plenty of opportunities.

Who knows?  Maybe the Vikings will use a committee approach to start the season.  Maybe, if Gerhart can continue to average 4.9 yards per carry, they’ll use it for the entire season.

17 responses to “Toby Gerhart braces for a “big role”

  1. The last one-two punch the Vikings employed was when they drafted Peterson. Had Chester Taylor and him alternating between being starter and rode the one who was doing well in the games. Very potent, but then AP phased out Chester completely in the run game. But, I don’t see that happening with AP when he is back to health.

  2. Obviously I’d rather have Peterson healthy and starting but Gerhart is no slouch.He’s big and strong and when he breaks to the second level he usually breaks one tackle and falls forward when he is going down. Plus he’s not Peterson so teams don’t focus on him as much, opening more lanes.

  3. I kinda like the Vikings these days. It’d be great if they have a dream season and exceed any huge expectations. I mean they’ll still get blown out twice by GB and finish 5 or 6 games behind, but its hard to win 14+ games like the SB 47 champs will do this year!!

  4. I wasnt aday fan of the pick when it happened, but he showed last season, specifically at the end that he could do some nice things on the ground when he was given the chance.

    I see no reason to rush AP back, take it slow and make sure he is right health wise, not like the team is gonna sniff anything but another top 10 pick again.

  5. Beings they drafted him in the 2nd round i would hope that they use more of a commitee in the backfield to keep petersons career goin longer..otherwise it seems like a waist of a pick imo.

  6. Or give It to the guy you gave the HUNDRED MILLION dollar contract to… Adrian or Percy should account for 60% – 65% of our offensive plays… work in Jerome when he’s able to play and utilize the TEs they brought in and bamm!!! Theres our OFFENSE…

  7. Assuming the Vikings arent being blown out before the half..and they still have time to run the ball. He’s a good runner, but he’s not going to draw a safety into the box like AD does.

  8. Toby is a great straigh ahead power runner. I expedct him to do great things this yera with Kalil at LT and Charlie Johnson at LG. If Sullivan is truly healthy at center the left side of the Vikes should have a good power running game.

    Loadholt needs to step up at RT and RG s still an unknown, so run left Toby, run left!

  9. I’d like a big role for Gerhart this year to keep the pounding off Adrian while he completes his recovery. Next year, Adrian will need the ball a lot because he’s the kind of back who needs a bunch of carries before he breaks one. With Ponder in his third year, we should be set for the Super Bowl, homeboy.

  10. Vikes should put AD on the PUP to start the season just to be on the safe side, the extra 6 weeks will do nothing but good and it will also give him some extra hunger to get back into the lineup. Come week 7, watch out….I have full faith Toby can carry the load successfully for the early part of the season.

  11. thankheavenfornumberseven says:Jul 23, 2012 10:28 AM

    I’d like a big role for Gerhart this year to keep the pounding off Adrian while he completes his recovery. Next year, Adrian will need the ball a lot because he’s the kind of back who needs a bunch of carries before he breaks one. With Ponder in his third year, we should be set for the Super Bowl, homeboy.

    —————

    Comments like these are why Minnesota fans are always getting ripped. I think we’re heading in the right direction, but it will be at least 4-6 years before we are making a serious run in the playoffs. And, that run is highly unlikely to include AD or CP.

  12. The thing with Toby is the more he is on the field during the game, the better he gets. He plays purely power football, and the defense gets tired of having him run over them time and time again. He’ll do fine.

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