Vikings searching for Adrian Peterson backup in draft?


The Minnesota Vikings lost their backup to Adrian Peterson when Toby Gerhart signed a free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Finding Gerhart's replacement figures to be on the priority list ahead of this week's draft. The player who does end up playing behind Peterson should expect to see more work than Gerhart did. New offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to ease the workload facing Peterson, who recently turned 29 and is coming off his third surgery in as many years.

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"He's getting to the point where you don't have to give him the ball 50 times a game for 16 games," general manager Rick Spielman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Adrian's the face of our franchise, but Norv has a history of having two backs to keep him fresh, because I think it's very important as you go through the season that they're still strong in Week 16 and they're still strong when you get into the playoffs."

The depth chart behind Peterson is unproven. Matt Asiata saw some work late last season, including a Week 15 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles that provided our favorite box score of the season. Behind Asiata are Joe Banyard and Bradley Randle, two players without an NFL carry to their name.

The Vikings' first order of business in the draft might be taking another crack at finding that elusive franchise quarterback. Finding Peterson's understudy is a task that can be completed in the later rounds.

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