Leslie Frazier: “Very good chance” Toby Gerhart has to carry the load early

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The news about Adrian Peterson’s recovery from last season’s knee injury has been uniformly positive, but that doesn’t mean the Vikings are counting any chickens before they hatch.

It is only June, after all, and they know that there are still plenty of potential setbacks to Peterson’s recovery between here and the start of the season. That could mean Toby Gerhart will be the starter when the season gets underway and he’s made some changes to his body to prepare for the possibility. Dan Wierderer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Gerhart weighs the same as he did last season, but looks bigger because he’s made an effort to add mass this offseason.

The Vikings are using OTAs to see what, if anything, has changed about Gerhart’s game as a result of the change in his body. While explaining why, Frazier sounded the rare cautionary note about Peterson’s recovery.

“He’s still a developing guy,” Frazier said. “And there are some things we’re going to find out in these OTAs. Before we send him home and come back to training camp, we’ll give him a prescribed weight. But we wanted to take a look at him at where he is right now and just see how it would affect his quickness. Because there’s a very good chance he’s going to have to really carry the load early on.”

Frazier’s being more realistic than pessimistic when it comes to Peterson’s status. Even if Peterson is able to play Week One, the Vikings aren’t going to be able to use him as a workhorse right off the bat. That means a lot of work for Gerhart. It also means that Christian Ponder needs to move the ball through the air while the Vikings figure out how to deploy their backfield.

Whatever happens with the rushing game, Ponder’s growth will be vital to the Vikings’ ultimate success this season.

23 responses to “Leslie Frazier: “Very good chance” Toby Gerhart has to carry the load early

  1. That would be a good idea to make sure one of the NFL’s best running backs does not return too early only to get hurt again.

  2. They’ll probably still stack the box, since that’s all defenses against MN seem to ever do these days. Hopefully an improved passing game will change that. The Ponder/Simpson connection is looking pretty good…

  3. They’re going to roll with a Fullback as their feature back? What could go wrong?

  4. The only thing I worry about are those goal line situations when/if we do not have Peterson. He was the goal line back. I like Toby he could start for a bunch of teams, but I don’t see him as a goal line runner and I have seen him stood up too many times. Outside of that he is a good second backup to have.

  5. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jun 7, 2012 2:30 PM

    They’re going to roll with a Fullback as their feature back? What could go wrong?

    He’s not a FB. I know it is hard for you to wrap your mind around the concept of a team having a quality RB, much less two, since you haven’t seen one on your team in…..wow, I can’t even remember back that far.

  6. Dream Scenario;

    AP and Gerhart tearing it up on every play while listening to Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder’s “Ebony and Ivory”.

  7. “They’re going to roll with a fullback as their feature back? What could go wrong?”

    Considering the pack have such a great running attack… don’t forget your coyote pelt and skunk hat to fit in with the rest of your classy fans

  8. @CarlTurdschmidt – Did you not see Toby play last year? He ended up having a pretty good season once he got some reps. He had a 4.9 yd average last season and put up starter quality games.

  9. Carl Gerbschmidt says:Jun 7, 2012 2:30 PM

    They’re going to roll with a Fullback as their feature back? What could go wrong?

    Good ol Carl..are you really mocking the RB’s in Minnesota?. Have you looked at your Packer’s backfield lately?

  10. I am so excited that Gerhart FINALLY gets a shot.

    He is NOT a fullback, do not put him there just b/c he’s white.

    I am hoping that his success will influence coaches to give more white players a shot at RB at both the high school and college levels.

  11. Sometimes a guy like Gerhart needs to play consistently in order to establish himself and develop credentials. I wish him luck because I don’t AP is ever going to be the same runner again.

  12. that entire organization are in the twilight zone.

    I bet frazier is going to use Gerhart as a decoy while they throw and run Parvy Harvin 80% of the game

  13. Carl Gerbschmidt says:
    Jun 7, 2012 2:30 PM
    They’re going to roll with a Fullback as their feature back? What could go wrong?

    Kind of like the Packers do with Kuhn since they really dont have a running game.

  14. Working out in Houston and saw AP tearing it up…Viking fans dont worry, AP will be READY

  15. The Vikings, even without AP, would still be the best running team in the NFC north sans Forte and the Bears. I really hope what we concentrate on is our passing game. Going against the pass happy NFC north and it’s great wide receivers, even having the best running back in the NFL will fail to get the job done. Example is L.T. in San Diego. We need to be able to pass against the embarrassing defensive back of the uber-cheap Packers’ 31st ranked defense. We almost beat them last year with Ponder at home if that doesn’t tell you something.

  16. @jetropolitans That was by far the most idiotic statement I’ve seen in quite some time. Last I checked, the Minnesota Legislature approved the building of a new state of the art facility for the Vikings…..IN MINNESOTA. You are roughly 3-4 weeks late with that joke…….donkey.

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