It seems like we ask this question every season, but with Training Camp fast approaching, it's time to take the pulse of Minnesota Vikings nation and see what they think about the matter this time around.
Last season, after Adrian Peterson missed nearly all of the 2014 season with off-field issues, Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner kept Peterson on the sidelines during preseason action. Peterson did go on to win his third rushing title, but he got off to a bit of a slow start, and the team was forced to scrap just about anything that required Peterson to run the ball out of the shotgun after the opening loss in San Francisco.
Peterson hasn't had a carry in a preseason game since 2011. He got onto the field for a series in a 2013 preseason contest, but didn't touch the football in the time he was on the field. Peterson not getting any carries in 2012 can obviously be chalked up to his knee injury, but not getting any preseason action in 2014 and 2015 when he was adjusting to a new offense and a new quarterback may have been detrimental to the Minnesota offense.
According to Andrew Krammer of 1500 ESPN, the Vikings having joint practices during Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals may allow Zimmer to keep Peterson off the field during the preseason again.
"I haven't really thought about that yet," Zimmer said. "I don't know that there's a need. Some of the different runs that we're running, maybe it might be good to get him a couple of reps. But that's probably the good thing about practicing against Cincinnati. I don't have to see him in live things, but I can see him in other situations. But I don't know, I'll have to think about that one."
If the Vikings are going to continue to run their offense through Peterson, then it stands to reason that he needs to be able to diversify his skill set and do things he hasn't ordinarily been asked to do a lot of. Otherwise, we're going to be seeing a lot more of Jerick McKinnon (which, quite frankly, might not be a bad thing) and the offense is going to have the same tell that it had last year: the Vikings being significantly more likely to run when Peterson is on the field, and more likely to pass when he's not. Such a tell would continue to put Teddy Bridgewater and company behind the proverbial 8-ball and stifle the Vikings offense.
So, what do you think, Daily Norseman readers? Do you think that Adrian Peterson should be seeing some touches during the 2016 preseason?