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It wasn't long ago that the first-pick debate was "LT or AP?" Well things have change considerably since then.
His knee injury last year certainly makes Adrian Peterson a risky pick this year. One of his key strengths has always been the ability to keep moving forward after the initial hit. His YAC, yardage after contact, numbers have been extraordinary. Last season he averaged 2.5 YAC. We have to now wonder whether he will recover from the injury sufficiently to allow such power running.
Going into this season, it is also not clear when Peterson will be able to play a major role and how many weeks he might miss at the start of the season.
Furthermore, the trend in his overall production over the past four seasons shows a disturbing trend. The yardage shown is the total of rushing and passing.
|2008 || 1885
|2009 || 1819
|2010 || 1639
|2011 || 1109
Yes, I realize that the drop in production might be due to the Vikings' porous offensive line and poor record. When you get behind in games early, your lead running back tends to see less action. But I don't see a great deal of improvement in the roster that will halt the team's 11-game NFC Central losing streak. Matt Kali will be a substantial upgrade at left tackle, but that alone won't be enough.
In one ESPN mock draft, he was selected at pick No. 45. That seems about right to me.
I'd say that you should take Peterson in the fifth round if you already have a QB, WR and RB rostered. If he is ready to play fully in Week 1, you will be rewarded for taking this risk. Just remember to handcuff him with Toby Gerhart.