As I read the draft blogs and consistently see Mark Ingram listed as the top running back, likely to go in the first round, I thought it would be instructive to compare Ingram's NFL Combine results with those of our own Toby Gerhart (from last year):
Height 6' 0 5' 9
Weight 231 215
40 Yd Dash 4.53 4.62
20 Yd Dash 2.56 2.60
10 Yd Dash 1.55 1.55
Bench Reps 22 21
Vertical Jump 38 31.5
Broad Jump 9' 10 9' 5
3 Cones 6.94 7.13
Toby is BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER, JUMPS HIGHER and FARTHER and is more AGILE!!!
Yet the rap on Toby continues to be his "athleticism"!!??
The Vikings are lucky to have Toby Gerhart. He will average 4.5+ yards per carry if given the ball 15 - 20 times per game; which makes him an every down back capable of 1200 yards+ over a season. It is not his fault that he has to play behind one of the best running backs in the game. I watched this guy at Stanford over his career and he is a machine. He can also catch the ball (he was a center fielder for Stanford's baseball team) but never really did that in college.
He is a different running back than AP. AP will break more very long runs (25 yards +), but Toby will get his share of 15 - 25 yard bursts if played regularly. And Toby will gain at least 2-3 yards on most plays. How many games did we see AP end up with something like 100 yards on 20 carries - accomplished on 18 rushes for 45 yards (including several snuffs) and 2 rushes for 50 yards. I know that is the nature of the game, but it is not surprising that in the games that Toby played more, he similarly broke off a few longer runs and averaged more yards per carry. He needs to get in rythym, and he gets stronger as the game progesses.
I really hope that the Vikings move to a run first, pass second offense this year. And use some more play action. The whole playbook becomes far too predictiable when you pass on first down and throw incomplete.
I know that AP is in his contract year so he will want the ball. But hopefully the Vikings will run often enough to see Toby get a lot more carries this year. It might even be fun to see them both in the backfield from time to time.
And obviously, a QB and offensive line improvement would help everybody.
I think that the Vikings can surprise on the upside this year.