Now is Toby Gerhart's chance.
His chance to prove he can be a viable NFL running back and live up to his selection as a second-round draft pick in 2010.
Adrian Peterson's recovering from a completely blown knee, and you better believe the Minnesota Vikings coaches and trainers will take every precautionary measure in the book of precautionary measures.
Can Gerhart also prove to be a respectable fantasy football option?
Adrian Peterson's a freak of nature.
That we know.
But even someone with his enviable DNA takes a considerable amount of time recovering from a severe knee injury.
According to ESPN Twin Cities, the Vikings would prefer he gets some work in the preseason," and head coach Leslie Frazier said "now, will that happen? I don't know."
With that being said, Minnesota will likely lighten the workload for its star runner when the season begins, and as Rotoworld writes (h/t Tom Pelissero of ESPN), "Gerhart will carry the lion's share of the workload until Peterson proves his health."
At least for the beginning of the season, Gerhart should be the team's No. 1 back.
Adrian Peterson, in all of his greatness, is prone to injuries.
There's no getting around it.
Though he's only missed seven games in his four-year career, his most recent leg injury was the most devastating.
Because AP runs so high with so much reckless abandon, he opens himself up to the possibility of injury.
While it's hard to doubt Peterson's ability to recover from his blown knee, a reaggravation of any kind will land Minnesota's franchise runner on the sidelines and Gerhart again into the starting lineup.
Appearing in all 16 games last year, Gerhart carried the ball 109 times for 531 yards, good for a 4.9 yards per carry clip.
Those numbers may have dropped with more rushes, but at least Gerhart can build on a relatively productive 2011 season that saw him average nearly a full yard more per carry than he did as a rookie in 2010.
While he rightfully hasn't seen the bulk of the carries in Minnesota with Peterson starting, Gerhart showed considerable improvement last season.
A positive sign for what's to come in 2012.
Every fantasy owner is aware of the Adrian Peterson's injury and are probably tracking his rehabilitation process on a daily basis.
However, that doesn't mean owners will be quick to jump on Gerhart in the first few rounds.
After you select the core of your team and are seemingly set at the running back position, take a look at Gerhart as a backup who'll potentially be carrying the full workload for his team.
He'll be somewhat of an unconventional fantasy football novelty.
If Peterson returns but Gerhart's still receiving a respectable amount of carries, he'd be a great trade throw-in late in the season.
Christian Ponder wasn't as inept as fellow rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert in 2011, but he wasn't drastically better, either.
Ponder threw 13 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and completed a shade above 54 percent of his passes in his 11 starts.
While last season's experience will undoubtedly help his progression in 2012, there's a good chance Minnesota will continue to bring him along slowly—relying on the running game to take the pressure off its young signal-caller.
If that's the case, Gerhart could see considerable touches, at least at the beginning of the season while Ponder continues his maturation process.