Since they're probably looking for content at this point in the year as much as we are, the folks over at NFL.com are starting to do some positional rankings. They've started with team backfields, and the Minnesota Vikings rank pretty highly on the list, coming in at #3. Only the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks were above the Vikings on the list.
Here's what Marc Sessler, who wrote the article for NFL.com, had to say about the collection of running backs the Vikings have.
Vikings: Adrian Peterson, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, DaJuan Harris, Joe Banyard
Adrian Peterson -- the best running back of our generation -- is enough to lift the Vikings into the top five. I have no reason to doubt that he will be any less of a force come September. He actually finds himself in a much better offense now, with young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater throwing the ball to Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson and Kyle Rudolph. Even when teams stack the box, though, Peterson remains the most successful runner in NFL history against eight-man fronts.
Well, obviously Peterson is going to be able to carry any group of backs to a high spot in the rankings, as the article says, but with McKinnon and Asiata backing him up, the Vikings have a couple of solid options. How is that going to translate this season? Well, Sessler goes into a bit of that as well.
Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson told Around The NFL on Thursday that Peterson could see fewer snaps this season. "No question that the workload will be a lot more balanced than in the past because the organization has done an outstanding job of acquiring talent and other explosive pieces," Wilson said, emphasizing that he was talking about fewer snaps, not carries.
That might mean more third-down work for Jerick McKinnon, the second-year back who Wilson called "an NFL starter-caliber runner" and "a premier, dynamic playmaker that you can count on every Sunday for X amount of plays." Peterson still remains a top candidate to lead the league in rushing after Wilson noted that A.P. has been "extremely explosive" in practice and "still has electric foot speed," saying: "I don't see any difference from the guy who left here X amount of months ago."
In the seven seasons prior to last season, Peterson was averaging about 290 carries and 30 receptions a season. Obviously, those averages include seasons where he's missed some games, which is why the number is lower than you might initially expect. But now that the offense doesn't necessarily have to rely on Peterson as much as they've had to in past years, it might be wise to work McKinnon into the offense more regularly in order to save wear and tear on him.
The running back position is just one example of a Minnesota Vikings' roster that's much more talented than it was just last season. That seems to be the case at a lot of positions on the Minnesota roster now, and as we've seen over the years, it's important to have depth as well as stars. It appears that the Vikings are truly starting to develop that.