Jerick McKinnon had the best campaign of his career as an all-purpose back in Minnesota’s three-headed backfield. During the regular season, McKinnon accumulated nearly 1,000 yards in total offense (420 receiving, 570 rushing) en route to a 13-3 record and a NFC Championship Game berth. It couldn’t have come at a better time as McKinnon’s rookie contract has expired and Dalvin Cook set defenses ablaze during the first month of the season before tearing his ACL.
For McKinnon, the reality has set in that this is where the road ends for his Vikings career. Latavius Murray is under contract for two more seasons, which means McKinnon would be pushed to the peripherals, if not completely out of the picture. On Monday, McKinnon told ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin that he envisions himself carving out a lead back role elsewhere.
“I want to be the guy,” McKinnon said. “I don’t put in all the work in the offseason to come back and be in this role. I appreciate the role. It worked out well, but I want bigger and better things for myself.”
“We’ll see what happens,” McKinnon said. “There’s a lot of things that go into that whole situation that can be determining factors: offensive schemes, financial reasons. It’ll be a lot to sit down and think about, but it will be a fun time to experience it.”
At 5-foot-9, McKinnon is a bit undersized, but his 147.5 SPARQ score at the combine, a metric which factored in his performance in various workouts such as the bench press and 40-yard dash were near Calvin Johnson territory. His 32 bench presses remains the high among all active running backs.
One situation which may appeal to him is in the New York Giants backfield, who just hired his offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur to be their head coach and were one of the most anemic rushing attacks in the entire NFL. Wherever he lands next, McKinnon will continue to make waves.
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