We've heard all about how Adrian Peterson is beating Percy Harvin in sprints and expecting to be ready come week 1. But the reality is, he is a physical runner who will be less than nine months removed from a major knee injury when the 2012 regular season begins. So you can understand if the Minnesota Vikings play it cautious when speaking on Peterson's availability. To that point, head coach Leslie Frazier said this about backup running back Toby Gerhart on Thursday. "[T]here's a very good chance he's going to have to really carry the load early on."
Gerhart averaged more than 100 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns in three late-season starts while Peterson nursed an ankle injury last year. Then on Dec. 24, the game in which Peterson suffered a torn ACL, a torn MCL, and meniscus damage, Gerhart ran for 109 yards on 11 carries.
Peterson is the 14th running back off the board, 37th overall, according to MockDraftCentral.com's latest ADP chart. That's too rich for my taste. At that slot, people are basically expecting Peterson to return to his old self after two or three weeks. But considering the nature of the injury and Peterson's hard running style, that's very optimistic. That early in the draft, I want my picks to have as few concerns as possible. I won't be drafting Peterson unless his stock takes a big tumble, but do think Gerhart is a nice bargain at his current ADP of 112.