Jun 17, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA;Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (31) rests at practice at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson on Jerick McKinnon: 'there’s not too many guys who impress me like that'

Toby Gerhart was once a fixture as the Minnesota Vikings No. 2 back, but he now has a golden opportunity to establish himself as a standout player as the Jacksonville Jaguars feature back. That has left something of a running back competition for the backup gig in Minnesota, , and it appears to be a clear, two-way battle between returning back Matt Asiata and raw rookie Jerick McKinnon.

The 5’9″, 208-pound Georgia Southern product has plenty of upside due to his speed, and he could get some nice carries on third downs to spell Adrian Peterson, who will continue to be a major workhorse, on occasion. McKinnon is a former college QB who doesn’t understand the nuances of the position, but he doesn’t lack upside and can make an impact as a receiver out of the backfield, which is something that Norv Turner will feature more often next season. Pass protection is always the main issue, and Asiata’s experience gives him the clear edge in that department.

Peterson gave some big-time praise to the rookie, and hopefully McKinnon has picked up some things from the game’s best running back. AD said, via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Master Tesfatsion, “He’s pretty impressive and there’s not too many guys who impress me like that, especially rookies coming in. He’s been able to do some real good things in the offense, picking it up well and just his running style.”

McKinnon’s speed, agility, incredible athleticism, and fluid style make him an intriguing player, but he’s probably one for the future. That said, if he keeps it up, he could make an impact behind Peterson when called upon. It won’t be often, but, then again, you never know. Players like McKinnon are a huge reason why I can’t wait for the preseason, because it is “real football” indeed for these players champing at the bit.

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Tags: Adrian Peterson Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings

  • Bob T

    And by the way, the young blood runs a faster 40. Which is pretty impressive

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      As Alfred Morris showed us, 40 times aren’t too important at RB, but a 4.41 forty is pretty impressive indeed.

      • Bob T

        Agreed, but once in the clear, it is nice to have. Always seemed to me that A.P. was so focused on his own work that he never paid much attention elsewhere.Nice to see Jerrick do that. I enjoy your columns. Thanks for another enjoyable read

  • JoeyVikes

    I’m telling you guys…McKinnon will be a beast this year!!!! SKOL!

  • David Mallow

    McKinnon won’t be used to often as strictly a 3rd down back, more if a change of pace/scat back..when they put he and AP on the field together,anything could happen, run, pass, play action, QB (McKinnon) option. I can’t wait to see this guy make an impact,and it will be immediately..he is a true athlete and can play the game… SKOL

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Yup, McKinnon is definitely more of a change-of-pace wrinkle, especially since Turner has stated repeatedly this offseason that he wants to get Peterson involved in the passing game.

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