by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
With news that Adrian Peterson is out, pending the outcome of his legal matters, the focus now goes to the other Vikings running backs. Matt Asiata carried the load last week and performed fairly well, but could Jerick McKinnon ultimately emerge as the team’s top option? Let’s take a look at him to see what could be there.
A third round pick out of Georgia Southern, there is no questioning his athletic ability. However, NFL.com may have summed him up best prior to the draft:
“Jack of all trades, master of none. Adjusted from a triple-option quarterbacking role as a junior to a tailback role as a senior and has enough athletic ability to warrant a chance as a change-of-pace back in the pros. Could even be tried as a return man and cornerback, where he began his college career. Would benefit from focusing on one position and will require some time to develop. Practice-squad candidate.”
While it is a bit of a red flag that his college team had trouble figuring out what to do with him, that doesn’t mean there isn’t talent. Walter Football said about McKinnon:
“McKinnon was very impressive as a runner at the Senior Bowl. He used his speed to rip off some long runs and has a real burst out of the backfield. McKinnon also is put together well with the strength to get yards after contact. He could be an excellent backup running back and contributor for the Minnesota offense.”
He is still learning as a running back, so thinking he is going to suddenly carry the load is a stretch. Last week, with Peterson out, he was given just 2 carries while also picking up 2 receptions. He also played on 21 of 66 snaps, according to Matt Vensel (via Twitter).
Clearly the Vikings don’t have faith in him… Yet, and this should continue to be the Matt Asiata show (or should we say the Cordarrelle Patterson show) for the time being. McKinnon is well worth stashing for those running back hungry owners in deeper formats (and dynasty leagues), but for now that’s all he is.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com, Walter Football