Peterson was in uniform and participated with the team during pregame warm-ups. But when the Vikings took the field for the opening kickoff, he was on the sidelines in street clothes, just as head coach Leslie Frazier had confirmed in last Tuesday's press conference.
In the offseason Frazier also indicated that Gerhart was going to play a larger role in the Vikings offense in 2012. Not a very surprising statement, since at the time Peterson was just recovering from surgery to repair both the ACL and MCL in his left knee. Yet, Gerhart, who enters his third season with the Vikings, is due.
The 2009 Heisman runner-up will have a breakout season as the Vikings' featured back until Peterson can demonstrate his knee is fully recovered.
Coming off his own knee injury, Gerhart is poised for a breakout season after two years playing behind Peterson. While this is a situation the Vikings were hoping to avoid, they absolutely have the right player ready to carry the load for Minnesota.
Here are five reasons Toby Gerhart will be the NFL's biggest surprise running back.