2012 NFL Mock Draft: Time for Vikings to Draft a Running Back?

Geoffrey MortonCorrespondent IIDecember 27, 2011

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings is helped off the field after being injured in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on December 24, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

During a seemingly routine play that ended in tragedy for Minnesota Vikings fans, running back Adrian Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL after being hit by DeJon Gomes of the Washington Redskins. And now the Vikings are faced with a question: Should they draft a running back in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Torn ACLs are no laughing matter. Many players have torn their ACLs and have never been able to play at the level they did before the injury. Luckily for Peterson, running backs like Edgerrin James, Frank Gore, Willis McGahee and Jamal Lewis have.

However, now that Peterson has suffered this traumatic injury and is predicted to take eight-to-nine months to recover, it may be time for the Vikings to draft a solid backup who can take some of the pressure off of him.

Toby Gerhart is OK, but he lacks the speed necessary to be a dangerous running back in the NFL. Should Peterson go down again due to injury, the Vikings would be much better off drafting a runner who can break off big runs every so often and blow past defenders.

Some perfect candidates for the job are David Wilson from Virginia Tech and Cyrus Gray from Texas A&M. Both possess impressive speed and lean towards being scat backs, meaning they could provide a change of pace and new dimension to Minnesota's offense.

Wilson and Gray could both potentially be much better backups than Gerhart, and they could definitely improve the Vikings offense and benefit Peterson.



It's not like Peterson's career is over. He can still come back and potentially play at the same incredible level he's been playing at his entire career and not have another serious injury.

However, the Vikings could really use this as an eye-opening experience that shows them they need a backup plan in case Peterson goes down and also a player who can share the load with Peterson while offering the Vikings a valuable playmaker. 

While it would be extremely unwise for the Vikings to waste a first- or second-round pick on such a player, Cyrus Gray, David Wilson and other middle-round running backs are worth a serious look by Minnesota.