With recent news that Adrian Peterson is going to be more involved with the passing game including playing third downs in unison with Lorenzo Booker’s solid preseason game versus the Titans, it begs the question if we should start considering Toby Gerhart a bust. And I know… I know… he’s just going into his second year in the league, does have a powerful running style, seems to have a good head on his shoulders and carried us to victory last season versus the Washington Redskins.
But it must also be considered how Gerhart was acquired. When the Vikings drafted Gerhart in 2010 the idea was a 2nd running back was needed to preserve Adrian for the long haul. LaDanian Tomlinson had recently visited the Vikings over his free agency rounds and decided to sign with the New York Jets instead. So when Gerhart was available at 51 the Vikings traded their 2nd round pick (#62 overall) and their 3rd round pick (#93rd overall) to grab the Stanford product. Gerhart had 81 carries for 322 yards and 1 TD as a rookie. That didn’t even allow Gerhart to grade out as one of the top 50 running backs in the league last year.
The term bust in the sports word is essentially a player who is drafted at a high position and fails. Gerhart hasn’t exactly failed yet, but he still cost us an extra 3rd round pick to acquire. When reviewing what other players were available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds (with how poor this team’s offensive line is, depth concerns in the secondary, the 12th overall pick this year was spent on QB Christian Ponder and the 43rd on Kyle Rudolph) the Vikings passed on QB Colt McCoy, TE Tony Moeaki, DB Morgan Burnett and offensive linemen Vladimir Ducasse and Jared Veldheer.
Yes, hindsight is always 20/20. But perhaps the time has come to expect Gerhart to bring more firepower to this offense. Otherwise that dreaded word that rhymes with must will be said by others.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig