Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
The battle at running back has two fronts this season. On one hand, there is a battle to see who will be the backup to the backup. On the other hand, there is a potential battle to see who is the backup.
Toby Gerhart enters the 2013 season in the last year of his rookie contract. After having the fewest rushing attempts in his three seasons with the Vikings in 2012, his future does not appear to be very secure in Minnesota.
So the question is who will take his place—either this season or next?
Right now the Vikings' depth chart at running back remains the same as last season with Gerhart and Matt Asiata backing up Adrian Peterson.
After proving he didn't require any carries during last season's exhibition games, Peterson is not expected to see much action before the regular season starts. The other five running backs all got a chance to carry the ball in the games against the Texans. That doesn't include fullback Zach Line, who scored the team's only touchdown on a 61-yard pass play.
Based on the results, it's a six-man dead heat.
Gerhart and Joe Banyard, who was on the Vikings' practice squad last season, each got four carries—they totaled 15 yards. That's only 1.87 yards per carry. To their defense, the Texans held Peterson to only 86 yards last season in Week 16—the only game in the last 10 of the season where he did not break at least 100 yards. Of course, they were not facing the same defense in the first preseason game.
The least likely player to almost rise above is Bradley Randle, who finished with 16 yards on three carries. Randle, an undrafted rookie, was a backup last season at UNLV as a junior.
Asiata finished with eight yards on two carries, and Jerodis Williams, an undrafted rookie return specialist from Furman, had one carry for four yards.
Yes, it's only the preseason, and most of these attempts were behind backup offensive linemen. Viking fans are hoping that Peterson has another season like last year, and the Vikings don't need anyone else to carry the ball.