Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier this month, Adrian Peterson reacted to the hiring of coach Mike Zimmer with guarded optimism, telling ESPN he was watching closely to see whom Zimmer would put on his coaching staff and what the team would do with the rest of its offseason.
Now that the Vikings have added veteran offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Peterson evidently is coming around.
The star running back, in an interview with USA Today Sports, called Turner “the perfect guy to lead us and get us on the right path,” pointing out Turner’s reputation as a passing guru and the Vikings’ struggles throwing the ball the past two seasons.
Minnesota had the league’s 23rd-ranked passing offense in 2013, using three starting quarterbacks. In 2012, the Vikings’ passing game ranked next-to-last.
Peterson was a staunch supporter of former coach Leslie Frazier and told ownership he wanted Frazier to stay on after the Vikings went 5-10-1 this season. He also had said after the season that he wants to have more input into the Vikings’ decision-making process, and he talked with general manager Rick Spielman before heading home to Houston for the offseason.
If Turner is able to inject some life into the Vikings’ passing game, Peterson could stand to benefit more than anyone else on the roster.
The 2012 league MVP had more carries against eight-man fronts than any other running back in the league this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and carried four more times against eight-man fronts in 2013 than he did in 2012, despite missing two of the Vikings’ final four games and playing sparingly in the other two.
“[Turner] is a brilliant mind, obviously,” Peterson told USA Today Sports. “I’m still sitting back and seeing whatever moves we make as far as coaches and players.”
Peterson, who is heading to New York this week for a handful of Super Bowl-related events and is conducting interviews as part of several promotions, said in the USA Today Sports interview that he is feeling good after having groin surgery last week.
It was Peterson’s third surgery in two years, and came a year after the same doctor — Philadelphia-based specialist Dr. William Meyers — performed an operation to mend the sports hernia suffered halfway through the 2012 season.
Peterson said the groin injury occurred as he was compensating for muscles that were still healing from the hernia surgery. He expects to be recovered in six weeks.
- Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
- Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate