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Turner: Vikings trying to get Peterson in passing game

Under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson expects to be a bigger part of the passing game in 2014.

Peterson, who has never caught more than 43 passes in a season, told NFL Media's Albert Breer earlier this week he's always "envisioned" himself as an all-purpose back, a la Marshall Faulk.


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Turner views Peterson as a three-down back, which should increase the running back's opportunities to catch passes out of the backfield. Primarily used as a check down the past two seasons, Turner wants to get Peterson in open space against an opponent's secondary.

"A big part of that is finding ways for Adrian to not have to run in such crowded areas all the time," Turner said, per 1500ESPN.com. "He's going to have to do that, that's part of his job, he's the best in the league at it. But if we can get him more space we can take advantage of his great abilities."

Peterson has 206 receptions for 1,697 yards in seven seasons. He's averaged a middling 5.4 and 5.9 yards per reception the last two years.

Turner dismissed the perception that Peterson can't catch or be a viable option out of the backfield.

"He's got good hands, I think he's comfortable with the routes that we would ask him to run," Turner said. "It's certainly not the lead part of what we're doing. We threw a screen to him yesterday that was as nicely set up as you could ask for and the linemen got out in front. If we can get him in space like that throughout a game, throughout the season it will help all of us."

Peterson's best two pass-catching seasons came when Brett Favre helmed the ship. The winner of the starting-quarterback job between Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel will also play a role in the running back's production in the pass game.

If Turner is able to get Peterson to the second level more easily through the passing game, the NFL's most dominant runner will be even more difficult for defenses to manage in 2014.

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