With Toby Gerhart In the Wings, Does Adrian Peterson Need to Play It Cool?

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IJune 15, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A lot has been made out of Adrian Peterson missing last weekend's minicamp. Head coach Brad Childress was openly miffed about Peterson missing practice to attend "Adrian Peterson Day" in Texas.

This is all very interesting , and especially so because of two facts:

First, many immediately pull the "Brett Favre card," suggesting that if Favre can skip on workouts, then why can't Peterson?

There is also the suggestion that the Vikings had known all along about Peterson's event, especially since this was the fourth consecutive year it was held.

Firstly, Peterson's situation is nothing like Favre's. Favre is rehabbing an ankle injury and entering his 20th NFL season. Even without the injury, a large portion of the league (and definitely the Vikings) would agree that he has earned the right to show up right before the pre-season begins.

While Peterson is a heck of a running back, it's quite arguable that he has not yet earned that right.

Rumors are flying around about another "schism," that this is just the beginning of a bigger problem, or that AD wants a new contract.

These are probably just what they seem to be: petty rumors that won't ever form wings.

However, if Peterson does intend on flexing his iconic muscles to see just how much he means to the state of Minnesota, he might want to check in the rear-view mirror.

The 30-year old Chester Taylor is gone to Chicago, and newly drafted Stanford running back, Toby Gerhart, is waiting for his chance to steal the show.

That's not to say we're anywhere near that type of a situation, but we're talking about a guy (Peterson) who didn't have a particularly great 2009 season. Not to mention the fact that he capped a regular season in which he lost six fumbles by committing more errors in the Vikings' NFC Championship loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Sure, Peterson's numbers are rock solid at first glance: over 1,300 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, and 43 receptions (22 more than in 2008).

However, when you take a close look at his game logs , you'll find that Peterson topped 100 yards just three times all season, and two of those 100+ yard efforts came against the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions.

Not exactly the resume of a running back who is supposed to be the "best back in the league ." That doesn't mean Peterson isn't as good as we thought/think he was/is.

It just means that his attitude, fumbles, and consistency are worth a second glance.

Another interesting note? In his last seven regular season games, Peterson topped four yards per carry only once .

On the other side of the spectrum, the last guy in the world that you'd think could supplant Peterson is Gerhart, a stanford kid who used to wear the number seven in college. He could actually turn out to be the perfect replacement. Of course, if it ever comes to that extreme of a move by the Vikings and/or Peterson.

Gerhart doesn't fumble. He's a powerful and strong runner, just like Peterson, but he knows how to protect the ball, get difficult yards, and get into the end-zone.

Perhaps the Vikings weren't just breathing hot air when they stole Gerhart in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft . Perhaps that selection was foreshadowing.

While it's not likely, it's definitely something to think about and watch for.