Vikings Grab RB Peterson With No. 7 Pick

Saturday, April 28th 2007, 2:15 pm
By: News On 6

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Adrian Peterson's mending collarbone didn't scare the Minnesota Vikings.

The Oklahoma running back, still recovering from a broken right clavicle, went to the Vikings with the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft on Saturday.

Minnesota just couldn't pass up the chance to bring a big-time playmaker to an offense that sorely needs one.

"We're obviously elated to have this guy," coach Brad Childress said. "He is an explosive football player that can take it to the house every time from any point on the football field. He has that kind of speed and ability."

The fans at the team's Winter Park headquarters roared with approval when the pick was announced, eager to finally see a player with game-breaking skills come to an offense that struggled to score last season.

The Vikings ranked 26th in scoring and created few big plays. Instead, they were forced to manufacture points using long drives and conservative play-calling that frustrated fans.

"I think I'm the perfect fit," Peterson said.

The Vikings passed on Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn to select Peterson, apparently comfortable going into next season with second-year QB Tarvaris Jackson and inexperienced veteran Brooks Bollinger competing for the job.

At 6’1 and 220 pounds, Peterson has a rare combination size and blazing speed. He rushed for 4,045 yards in three seasons with the Sooners despite missing seven games last season with collarbone and ankle injuries and being slowed by injuries for much of his sophomore season.

"I think in the pre-draft conference that we did have guys that we had taken off the board from a medial standpoint," vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said. "But as you can see he wasn't one of our concerns."

In Minnesota, he won't have to be the workhorse he was in college. Peterson will team in the backfield with Chester Taylor, who rushed for 1,214 yards in his first season as a starter.

But Taylor wore down as the season dragged on, with the 304 carries taking a toll on a body not used to enduring that kind of punishment.

Now he has some help.

"It's all about what's best for the team," Peterson said when asked about sharing the spotlight. "Whatever it is, I'm down for that."

Peterson burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2004, rushing for 1,925 yards on 339 carries to finish second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.

The running back said his collarbone is fine and that he won't need surgery to repair it before reporting to the Vikings. He ran for 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

"It should heal by itself," Peterson said. "I'm just ready to get back on the field."

He'll run behind one of the best left sides in football, with center Matt Birk, guard Steve Hutchinson and tackle Bryant McKinnie.

"Look at what Chester did last year, 1,200 yards," Peterson said. "It feels good going into a situation where a line gets the job done."