When the Minnesota Vikings drafted running back Toby Gerhart in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it was assumed that he would immediately plug in to the third-down back role behind starter Adrian Peterson.
So far, that hasn’t been the case.
Although Gerhart has shown signs of promise with his bruising running style and versatility, the production hasn’t been there. The Vikings need someone who can pose a threat as a change-of-pace back, and Gerhart hasn’t done that in his three years in the Twin Cities.
Throughout his three-year NFL career, Gerhart has amassed 1,022 yards and three touchdowns on 240 carries. His 4.3 yards-per-carry average has been decent, but his ineffectiveness and lack of a second gear have handcuffed him. Put simply, he hasn’t been the Chester Taylor replacement the Vikings were hoping for.
That, however, doesn’t mean that another team couldn’t see starting potential in Gerhart.
If the Vikings and GM Rick Spielman don’t see him as a part of the future plans, the team could look to trade Gerhart this upcoming season. The former Heisman runner-up still has some value as a backup running back, so the Vikings could look to get something in return for their 2010 second rounder.
There’s also the possibility that the Vikings could draft a third-down back this upcoming April to push Gerhart for that role. Especially considering the promising depth of the class, that could put a real damper on No. 32′s push to maintain his roster spot in Minnesota.
Unless Gerhart has a breakout year in 2013, there’s a good chance that the Vikings go in a different direction moving forward. The potential is there, however, for him to assert himself as a viable option behind Peterson this upcoming season.
It’s time for Gerhart to put up or shut up. We’ll see what happens in 2013.