Thanks to everyone who participated in Tuesday's lively SportsNation chat, where Jay of Anoka asked a question I've been wondering about myself regarding the Minnesota Vikings' backfield depth behind starter Adrian Peterson:
Jay (Anoka, MN)
Any chance Booker takes over the #2 role from Gerhart?
Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)
It's an interesting question. I think he runs harder, but Gerhart is a second-round pick. He'll get the first crack at the job.
Jay, of course, is referring to Lorenzo Booker and Toby Gerhart. As we discussed in the Vikings' Camp Confidential, Booker appeared more effective than Gerhart in the goal-line drills that I watched. I think anyone who watched Saturday night's preseason opener at the Tennessee Titans saw more encouraging signs from Booker as well.
Booker rushed for a team-high 46 yards on nine carries, caught a team-high three passes for 32 yards and also had a 26-yard kickoff return. Gerhart had a 9-yard run but then lost a combined 1 yard on his other two carries. He had one reception for 8 yards.
Its only fair to point out that Booker played mostly against the Titans' third-team defenders. And the truth is that Peterson's backup won't get on the field much presuming his continued good health. Last year, Gerhart was the team's second-leading rusher with 81 carries. The year before, backup Chester Taylor had 94 carries.
But the Booker-Gerhart battle will be interesting. Gerhart is a former second-round draft choice and thus has an internal pedigree that Booker, signed late last season as a free agent, doesn't have. And maybe a team that plans to rely on its running game as much as the Vikings seem positioned to will have a legitimate and regular role for its second running back this season.