Rookie RB Adrian Peterson has been drawing some attention of late, and with good reason. He ran for over 200 yards against Chicago over the weekend, and when the game was on the line, he received and ran back the kickoff that put the Vikings in position to beat the once mighty Bears.
No one, but NO ONE, ran for 200 yards against the Bears last year. And yeah, the Bears defense is faltering and injured, and their offense is missing the bruising 3.8 yards per carry of Thomas Jones, probably much more than they thought they would.
But you can buy a T-shirt that proclaims A.P. the Purple Jesus. And yet, Brad Childress refuses to call him his #1 back. Childress is going with very solid contributor Chester Taylor as his #1 back. Chester Taylor, who only ran for over 1,000 yards last year, whilst splitting duty with Mewelde Moore.
Some folks see the wisdom in not putting too much on the rookie's rather sensitive shoulders.
Reuben Franks, at SI, suggests that Childress has learned from experience:
A few years ago, back when he was offensive coordinator with the Eagles, Brad Childress had a talented young tailback named Brian Westbrook. He was fast, explosive and productive, and the temptation was there to give him the ball down after down, series after series.
Childress resisted. Westbrook's 5-foot-8, 215-pound frame wasn't ready for the workload, and despite pressure from fans and media, the Eagles brought Westbrook along slowly. Today, he's one of the most productive backs in football.
Jim Souhan, of the Star Tribune thinks differently:
We see the best runner in the NFL. Brad Childress, being an experienced football man, sees the backup running back the Vikings have been missing ever since Rick Fenney last pulled a hamstring.
Souhan goes on to reference, I'm not kidding, all of these people: Allen Rice, Alfred Anderson, Troy Hambrick, Reggie Harrison, Ted Brown, D.J. Dozier.
Ha-ha! I think I get what Souhan is trying to say! That Adrian Peterson isn't really a #2 back. Seeing as Peterson got 20 carries last week, I don't think Childress really sees him as a #2 back, either.
There is any number of reasons to rip the Childress braintrust--the 32nd in the league pass defense, up from 32nd last year; the decision to rely upon Tavaris Jackson, and whatever QB could be scrounged up a couple of weeks into the season, instead of going after reliable veteran QBs; relying on wide receivers like Bobby Wade and Turd Ferguson and Troy "Paddle-Hands" Williamson.
But Souhan has chosen to rip a semantic Running Back choice. Chester Taylor is a pretty good runner his own self (again--over 1000 yards last year), and if Childress calls Peterson his #2 back, even after handing him the ball 20 times, and asking him to field the crucial kickoff return in the final moments against the Bears, that seems forgiveable.
It may seem silly to call Peterson the #2 back on the team, but good lord, Souhan, that's hardly the biggest problem on the Viking team, is it?
I know it is fun to cruise through old Vikings media guides to come up with funny #2 running backs, but the fact is Adrian Peterson got the ball more than 20 times against the Bears. So you are really arguing about stupid semantic bullshit, instead of talking about this team's obvious (and avoidable) flaws in the secondary and at QB.
Why did you did you do that? Because it was easy. You catty bitch.