It was clear the Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson would not be continuing their professional relationship after they declined to pick up his $18 million option for the 2017 season. While the Vikings have been linked to many of the draft’s top running backs this year, they have also added former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray, signing him to a three year, $15 million dollar contract. He’ll battle incumbent starter Jerick McKinnon for the starting job unless the Vikings add another high profile back via the draft. This signing impacts several different players, so it’s natural we break that down here at DLF.
Latavius Murray, RB MIN
After three years in the “Black Hole,” Murray moves on and finds a new home in Minnesota. He now has the gargantuan task of replacing a legend in the form of Peterson. However, the way Peterson’s Vikings career ended the last few years including a suspension and numerous injuries, he is at least afforded the luxury of not competing with fresh memories. After a promising rookie season with a 5.2 yards per carry average on 83 carries, Murray has delivered back-to-back 4.0 yards per carry campaigns. He is coming off a bit of a disappointing season in 2016 as well. The positive notes from last year were his 12 rushing touchdowns (which ranked fifth in the league) and his 33 receptions for 264 yards. In fact, Murray has improved vastly in the passing game over his three years in the league and that is something the Vikings will surely lean on. The negatives for Murray were his aforementioned pedestrian yards per carry average (just 788 rushing yards on 195 carries) while finding himself in a full blown running back by committee.
Eric is on Twitter @OlingerIDP.