The first and most pressing part of the NFL’s ability to grapple with spread athletes, then, is figuring out exactly who can play in the pros. This was always tough, but it’s now even harder because the NFL demands techniques that spread athletes aren’t trained to perform.
In this regard, the Minnesota Vikings face a very modern problem: They’re trying to win now behind historically gifted running back Adrian Peterson, and they need run-blocking offensive linemen to help him. In the spread era, though, those draftees are increasingly tough to find. “When you have a running back like we do, you’re going to run block, and run blocking is basically out of a three-point stance,” said general manager Rick Spielman. “And spread offenses in general are hardly ever in a three-point stance.”