What Should We Expect from Adrian Peterson in 2012

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2012

Adrian Peterson is bent on returning for training camp, but both he and the team will not push it. There is, however, a good chance that he could be ready for the start of the season and certainty that he will be playing after the first few weeks.
Despite the probability of missing a pair of games, there is more than enough season for him to put up very good numbers if he can stay healthy.
Peterson usually sees more than 300 carries in a full year of action, but we can expect that to decrease to keep him fresh and monitor that leg.
That doesn’t mean he’ll see only half his normal carries, though. In fact, he should see upwards of 250. Easing the gas pedal on his carries isn’t the same as taking your foot off the gas entirely.

Sure, they’ll use Toby Gerhart a bit to make sure that Peterson’s knee stays in good shape and because Gerhart is a solid back who should be in the game.
Peterson is still the main man here and as I’ve often said, 75 percent of Peterson is better than 99 percent of the backs in the league—that includes Gerhart.
Expect Peterson to top 1,200 yards, probably closer to 1,300 and above. I also expect him to keep his usual pace up for touchdowns, with some question marks on the offense. Peterson remains the Vikings’ best red zone threat and always a juke away from a long touchdown.
There is some hesitation among fans and media that Peterson will not be able to retain his elite ability. However, as he has shown so far in this rehab process, he is determined to return to the field as the back he has been in prior years.
That confidence and will is going to be the difference for his effective return to the Vikings backfield.