Should the Minnesota Vikings Worry About Adrian Peterson's Fumble Issues?
It's a rare occasion in sports to see an athlete slip from the top tier, down to a considerably lower and less significant position.
I guess it's like being demoted in the army. One minute you're a lieutenant barking orders, while the next you find yourself listening to commands amongst the several hundred other standard soldiers.
As suitable as it is to compare an NFL player to a United States Marine, one factor simply differentiates the two.
In the army, if you can't fire a rifle, you're pretty much doomed from the very beginning. In football, this type of thinking relates, as if you can't secure the ball between your two arms, chances are the head coach won't hesitate to bench you nine times out of 10.
Recently, most teams have been criticized for having a problem player or two. The Pittsburgh Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger and his rambunctious ways, and the Philadelphia Eagles seem to have a new found loudmouth at wide receiver who goes by the name of DeSean Jackson.
But if there is one player that we never expected to go totally off the rails, it is All Day Adrian Peterson.
Okay, so Adrian hasn't totally fallen off the bandwagon just yet, after all it was only a year ago to this day that everyone classed him as the most fantastic runner in football.
With this said though, boy what a a difference a season can make. In 2009 Adrian Peterson simply didn't seem himself.
He played with the same fierce competitiveness, but lacked the usual explosiveness we are used to seeing from Adrian Peterson. Sure a 1,383 yard season was posted; however, realistically these are dismal stats from what is supposed to be a top of the range running back.
Aside from the mental side of Adrian's game, the biggest issue though was of course the consistent fumbles. And if you thought Percy Harvin's migraines seemed painful, you can't begin to imagine how much of a headache this issue gave head coach Brad Childress last season.
At the end of the year, Adrian Peterson wound up with 7 overall fumbles. Not a career high by Adrian, but a concern that had Vikings fans scratching their heads heading toward the offseason.
So with all of this said, should the Minnesota Vikings truly worry about this issue?
Well to be quite honest, the answer is both yes and no.
The Good Side
On one side of the coin Adrian Peterson is the type of athlete who is capable of turning his misfortune around. Some hard work will of course be required, but for the most part given Adrian's natural skill, a turnaround this season probably wouldn't take too many people by surprise.
Therefore, this issue isn't quite as vital to the Vikings 2010 campaign as it has been made out to be.
The other point worthy of making is that if Brett Favre does choose to return, Peterson can depend on consistent hand-offs of a high caliber from Brett Favre's highly experienced hands.
It's not like Adrian has a rookie quarterback at the helm just yet, so there really is no excuse for him to have another dismal season, fumble-wise. Aside from Brett Favre's experience, Adrian also has the luxury of Brad Childress, who is almost like a father figure to many Vikings players.
Expect Brad to have Adrian ready and focused come September, in order to push the Vikings further in the playoffs.
The Bad Side
Like my old teacher used to say, "Every good story has two sides to it," and Adrian Peterson's case is no exception.
When considering Adrian's overall talent, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that this man is amongst the NFL's elite running backs.
But the question must be asked, is he really better than Chris Johnson? Sure he has the speed, he has the hands, but the fact is that Adrian is yet to be as consistent as the Tennessee Titans star has been in recent years.
Unfortunately for Adrian, comparison is something that will haunt him. At almost every position there is competition, and whether it's Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, or Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson, Adrian Peterson to will be compared to Chris Johnson all day long.
Sure the Vikings as a team will have to overcome these odds, but if Adrian Peterson is still proving to have butter fingers, this only further plays into defensive genius' hands such as Sean Payton.
So Is This a Concern For Minnesota?
I'd have to say yes. Whenever a player is coming off a disappointing season, it should be taken a concern rather than just a bad year.
The Vikings are a potential Super Bowl team and with Adrian Peterson at his 100% best, they are the missing link in the chain away from achieving success. Although this issue could be easily fixed both by Adrian Peterson's uncanny ability, and by great coaching, it should be taken as a precautionary measure that Adrian Peterson may have another fumble prone season.
For Vikings fans, this isn't something to dwell on. It is a long season, and even though Adrian did have 7 fumbles in 2009, it didn't stop Minnesota entirely. Therefore, this issue is small, but could also be quite large.
As much as the quarterback is the most vital position on a team, Adrian Peterson is the most vital Minnesota Vikings. If the backbone is only at 60 percent, then the team won't stand strong.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for the Bleacher Report . He is also an NFL writer for Real Sports Net along with a writer and correspondent for Packer Chatters and Fan Huddle . Don't forget to follow him on Twitter .
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