Reporting Eric Nelson
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) Veterans are having their say these days as the team tries to sort through the second half of the season. One player that could offer some fresh energy is rookie running back Toby Gerhart.
Gerhart is finally adapting to the macho world of the NFL. The Stanford University rookie has survived his initiation is and showing promise at running back.
“I can remember when he first came in. I just told him, ‘Continue to keep working hard. It’s going to be a grind and don’t worry about the vets when they start teasing you,’” said Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley.
Gerhart’s running style has been compared to retired NFL halfback Jerome Bettis, but there is more to Gerhart than carrying the ball. He is a multi-dimensional back.
“That’s the key, especially when you get in there in third downs you need to be able to do all of those things. Protect the quarterback first and foremost, if you don’t have pressure get out and move the chains and run the ball,” said Gerhart.
Touches and repossessions don’t come often for Gerhart because he plays behind the iconic Adrian Peterson, a fellow running back. Still, Gerhart’s playing time is increasing and so is his confidence.
“I think as I continue to get more reps, more comfort and really settle in, I think you’ll see more and more of me,” said Gerhart.
“His bar’s pretty high. Toby, he’s a good back, he’s a hard running — he took 40-odd snaps in college, so he’s a running back that can carry the load,” said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen.
Gerhart has not even played one full season in the NFL, but he is already part of the purple soap opera. He sees drama on a weekly basis.
From quarterback Brett Favre to wide receiver Randy Moss, Gerhart has had a box seat in the Vikings circus.
“I was talking with some of the coaches who said, ‘You’ve seen a lot as a rookie that some guys don’t see in their 10 years in the NFL,’” said Gerhart.