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Vikings to lighten load for Peterson

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When Adrian Peterson returns this season, the Minnesota Vikings don’t plan to run him into the ground.

After missing most of last season while serving a suspension, Peterson is not expected to be a workhorse in the Vikings’ backfield in 2015. There were reports on Friday that the Vikings plan to hold him out of preseason games to avoid wear and tear on his body.

“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,” Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson told Around The NFL. “And just as the natural progression as an older back ages, the workload decreases anyway.”

The Vikings are hoping to be more balanced behind quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a good crop of receivers. That doesn’t mean the team doesn’t think any less of Peterson’s ability.

Wilson told the NFL Network that Peterson has exhibited the same speed, quickness and explosiveness in workouts as he had before the suspension that started early last season.

“I don’t see any difference from the guy who left here X amount of months ago,” Wilson said.

That said, it’s unlikely that the 30-year-old Peterson will approach the 2,097 yards on the ground he gained three seasons ago on 348 carries.

“I think it’s more about snaps per game because that’s what you have to watch in regard to the wear and tear,” Wilson said. “How he’ll last for the season is the snaps per game, not the carries or attempts per game, because that comes with the territory.

“He’s going to get his amount of touches that he gets, it’s the other snaps and plays that will determine how successful he is at lasting during the season and being powerful, strong, aggressive and explosive.”

The Vikings also like the potential of second-year running back Jerick McKinnon.

“I think he’s going to continue to improve and grow and mature, not only as an NFL starter-caliber runner but as a premier, dynamic playmaker that you can count on every Sunday for X amount of plays,” Wilson said. ” … And he showed flashes of that type of ability last year early on. So we’re all extremely excited about the potential that he has and what he can bring and add to our offense.”


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