Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The question I never thought I'd ask

...while Brad Childress was the head coach of the Vikings, but...

Is Adrian Peterson getting too many carries?

Hard to believe, isn't it? Just a few weeks ago, we were all concerned that Coach Chilly wasn't using his star running back enough, but following his 30-carry day against the Packers, AP's carry total in each game this season looks like this:

19, 29, 17, 18, 21, 25, 22, 25, 30

Nice to see that Chilly's decided to give him more carries as the season goes on, but this kind of pace can't be good long-term. Peterson has accumulated 206 carries through nine games. That's an average of just under 23 carries a game and puts him on pace for 366 carries on the season. Only a few backs (Larry Johnson, 417 in 2006, Shaun Alexander, 370 in 2005, Curtis Martin, 371 in 2004) have shouldered that kind of workload in the last five years and most would probably pick Peterson as the most fragile of the group.

On the bright side, Peterson is also very young, just 23 years old, and even if he does have a heavy-carry season, he's young enough to bounce back and still enjoy a productive career. And, after practically ignoring him for the season's first few games, the coaching staff has made heavier use of Chester Taylor the last few games, giving him 10, 7, and 10 carries to spell Peterson. Finally, two other backs -- Michael Turner and Clinton Portis -- have also topped the 200-carry mark so far this season, so maybe Peterson's high carry total is just a symptom of the Vikings playing well the last few weeks and controlling the clock and he'll actually finish with something in the low 300s. In any case, he seems a near-lock to join Chester Taylor as the only 300-carry back in Vikings history.

And yes, I know that it was at about this time last year that I finally caved in and expressed my man-love for Adrian Peterson and admitted that his strong performances were more than a fluke or just rookie luck. In the next game, the Packers wiped out the Vikings 34-0 and Peterson got hurt, so, even though he leads the league with 1,015 rushing yards and his 4.9 yards per carry is third only to Portis and Brandon Jacobs, I'm cautious about projecting his stats too far ahead.

Still, with the playoffs still potentially on the table and AP facing a potential 400+ carries if his team makes the playoffs, Coach Childress should look for any opportunity he can to give his best player a rest. Hey, at least we still have the Lions on the schedule. That game should be a blowout, right? Right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Give Peterson a rest? Childress rests one of the best athletes in the NFL on 3rd downs. Not to mention 3 and short plays Childress calls pass plays out of the shotgun evrytime...