Jerick McKinnon's undefined role hinges on whether Minnesota persuades Adrian Peterson to honor a $12.75 million contract in 2015 or trades his muddled status to another team -- abstractions that mean little to McKinnon, who refuses to dabble in Peterson politics.
He is hunting bigger game.
The ball carrier is fully recovered from back surgery that short-circuited his 2014 rookie season and eager to prove durable enough to produce over a 16-game NFL season.
"There's no doubt in my mind I can last the season," McKinnon said this week. "If that's something I have to prove, that's not a big deal for me. I'll prove it this year. I'm just really excited to get back out there with my teammates and coaches and show how far I've come since surgery."
McKinnon was the team’s primary runner from Week 4 to Week 12, averaging 81.5 yards on 16.4 touches per game. During that span, he was the #25 RB in standard formats and #20 in PPR. However, he failed to score a touchdown while Matt Asiata found the endzone 10 times. If Peterson leaves town and McKinnon enters the season as the team’s primary back, then low-end RB2 numbers are within reach. In that scenario, Asiata would continue to serve as the team's goal-line back.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that U.S. District Judge David S. Doty has ruled in favor of Peterson, granting an NFL Players Association motion to vacate a previous ruling by Harold Henderson.
"Petition to vacate the arbitration award was granted," Judge Doty remarked, according to Rapoport. "Case was remanded for further proceedings ... as the (collective bargaining agreement) may permit."
The NFL says it will "review the decision" by Judge Doty to make Peterson immediately eligible. According to NFL Media's Albert Breer, the league has the ability to seek a circuit court injunction to keep Peterson from being reinstated.
Peterson's Vikings future remains murky. The former league MVP said in a recent interview he is "still uneasy" about rejoining the Vikings after the team helped expedite his placement on the Commissioner's Exempt List in September. The two sides could also reach a financial impasse -- Peterson is scheduled to earn a base salary of $12.75 million and count $15.4 million against the salary cap in 2015. Peterson has said he doesn't believe he should have to take a pay cut.
Peterson and the Vikings seem to be on the outs. He doesn't seem flexible about taking a pay cut, so the Vikings may cut him or attempt to trade him away. Peterson would likely have to agree to a restructured contract to convince another team to bite on a trade. He has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys. If Peterson is out of the way, then Jerick McKinnon would likely see the most running back touches for the Vikings, though they could add a runner in free agency or the draft. McKinnon was the team’s primary runner from Week 4 to Week 12, averaging 81.5 yards on 16.4 touches per game. During that span, he was the #25 RB in standard formats and #20 in PPR.
While the Minnesota Vikings have tried to pave the way for Adrian Peterson's return to the team through numerous comments from top officials in the last week, the running back remains undecided about his future with the team.
Peterson told ESPN on Thursday night he is "still uneasy" about the prospect of returning to the Vikings in 2015, saying the organization working with the NFL to put him on the commissioner's exempt list last September made him question how much support he had from the team for whom he has played his entire career. The 2012 NFL MVP called that decision an "ambush," adding, "There were people (in the organization) that I trusted, who knew exactly what was said, that weren't heard from" in the decision-making process.
"I know there are a lot of people in the organization who want me back," he said. "But then again, I know the ones who don't. It's a difficult transition, and it's not just about me. I have a wife who was able to sit back and see how people in Minnesota said this and said that, how media in Minnesota took the head of the situation with my child, and were digging into things that weren't even relevant. That wasn't people in Texas -- it was people in Minnesota that dug in and brought things out. That impacted me, but most importantly, it impacted the people around me -- my family, my kids. This came from the state I love so much, that I wish to bring a championship to? This is how they treat me when I'm down and out? You kick me? My wife (and I), we've had several conversations about me returning to Minnesota, what the best options are. If I left it up to her, I'd be somewhere else today, and that's with her weighing everything. It's a lot for me to weigh; she understands that. But there are some things that I'm still uneasy about."
It sounds as if Peterson isn't happy with the way things went down last season, and is partly blaming the Vikings. In the end, it's his own fault, but he's not happy with the way the Minnesota media handled the fallout. The team wants to reduce his cap charge, but it doesn't sound like he's too interested in making amends.
Jerick McKinnon entered December with not only a spot near the front of the NFL’s rookie rushing ranks, but also a painful lower back injury.
While many of his teammates headed home after the season or to exotic locales much warmer than Minnesota, the Georgia native has stayed in the Twin Cities so he can rehab his injury at Winter Park with the team’s athletic training staff. He has only a couple more weeks left before the process is completed.
“It’s been pretty good. It’s been a long process, but that’s just the way it goes after surgery. I’ve been here all offseason working really hard,” McKinnon said last week in a phone interview. “I’ve just been in the training room with [assistant athletic trainer] Tom Hunkele pushing myself to the limit and just trying to get back ready. It’s been a long grind but it’s definitely working.”
There have been no setbacks, and McKinnon says he will be ready to participate without any limitations in the offseason workout program, which can begin April 20.
McKinnon was the team’s primary runner from Week 4 to Week 12, averaging 81.5 yards on 16.4 touches per game. During that span, he was the #25 RB in standard formats and #20 in PPR. However, he failed to score a touchdown while Matt Asiata found the endzone 10 times. Asiata is a restricted free agent, so he should be back in 2015. Adrian Peterson is also under contract, but his future in Minnesota is cloudy. If Peterson leaves town and McKinnon enters the season as the team’s primary back, then low-end RB2 numbers are within reach.
The Adrian Peterson era in Minnesota may be over, and it has more to do with his contract than his legal issues. Both head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have said they would like to have Peterson back in 2015. But Peterson, who turns 30 in a few months, will carry a cap hit of $15.4 million, a league-high for running backs. And in an ESPN interview he scoffed at the suggestion that he take a pay cut to remain with the Vikings. Can he and the Vikings find common ground? Or is Peterson ready for a fresh start elsewhere?
Jerick McKinnon averaged 4.8 YPC this season, but missed several games due to a back injury. It's not an encouraging sign if the team expects him to be the feature back in 2015. As for Peterson, it's going to be very interesting to see where he lands. If the Vikings let him go, McKinnon would likely be a 4th or 5th round pick in 12-team formats, assuming the team doesn't bring another back in to compete for the RB1 job.
Musgrave was previously the offensive coordinator for Carolina (20th in yards; 21st in points), Jacksonville (12th and 21st in yards; 25th and 29th in points) and Minnesota (18th, 20th and 13th in yards; 19th, 14th and 14th in points) prior to serving as the QB coach for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. His offenses tend to perform better in the running game, but that probably has more to do with the personnel (Fred Taylor, Adrian Peterson) that he was working with. We see this as a decent hire for Derek Carr and Latavius Murray.
Echoing earlier sentiments of his head coach, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the team wants Adrian Peterson to return to Minnesota once the suspended running back is eligible to apply for reinstatement on April 15.
“I don’t know if there’s a team in the NFL that wouldn’t want Adrian Peterson on the football team,” Spielman said Wednesday at Winter Park. “If you can name me one … and I don’t want to speak for other teams. I’m being a little sarcastic with that. But I know that he’s a pretty good football player.”
“I’ll just stick by with what I’ve said,” Spielman said. “I know that Adrian is a good person, just being around him. I know he’s done a lot of good in this community. What he did — he just came out and said he made a mistake. As [coach Mike Zimmer] had stated earlier, he has to get all that in order and then we’ll proceed from there.”
This will be one of the more compelling situations to monitor this spring/summer from a personnel standpoint. Peterson is under contract and the team says it wants him to return, so in all likelihood, he will.
Vikings WR Charles Johnson turns 26 on Feb. 27 and, unlike the feeling for Cordarrelle Patterson, the assumption by the team is Johnson will continue to improve. In just 12 games (six starts) this season, Johnson finished third in receiving yards (475) on 31 catches as he morphed from “who’s that guy?” to “he’s the No. 1 receiver on the team.” Johnson’s two touchdown receptions tied for second on the team, while his 15.3 average per catch was No. 1 among players with more than nine catches.
When the Vikings lost Adrian Peterson after Week 1, they struggled for weeks without an offensive identity. OC Norv Turner said it wasn’t until after the Nov. 16 Bears game that the Vikings established an identity with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater running a spread-it-out offense over the final six games.
“Part of that was we started playing Charles Johnson, which gave us a different guy on the outside to attack,” Turner said. “It created some differences in how people defended us. I think we became a much more efficient offensive football team and put ourselves in position to win games. We won some and there were some that a year from now, put in the same situation, we’ll be ready to handle it and be ready to win.”
“Next year will be my first year to actually get my first full year to play in the NFL and two years in a row of practicing and playing in the same system,” said Johnson, who was with Turner in Cleveland in 2013, but was rehabbing his knee the whole season. “Even Norv said the first season in this system is all right, but the second season is always better.”
Johnson also said he expects to be physically stronger and faster next season. And, remember, this was a guy who ran a 4.39 at the 2013 combine.
“I’m going to be a little bit more comfortable because I am coming off ACL surgery,” Johnson said. “I can say that I’m coming off ACL surgery and not fully confident in myself. training this offseason is going to be important for me. I look forward to it.”
Johnson started playing significant snaps in Week 11, and over the final seven games of the season, he averaged 3.6 catches for 59 yards and 0.29 touchdowns. He was the #31 fantasy receiver in that span. He should continue to have plenty of opportunity to grow in Turner's offense. His ADP will likely land in the 9th-12th rounds of 12-team leagues, depending on what the Vikings do at receiver this offseason.
“Well, as I’ve said many, many times, Adrian was always great with me,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s a good person. I think obviously he’s a great running back and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order — that’s the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back — then I will be in his corner whenever the decision is made.”
“I think he would add value to any team, to be honest with you,” Zimmer said. “I think the kid’s a heck of a football player. I just was watching our offensive tape, I was starting to go back right now with evaluating our players and I was starting with the offense in St. Louis, so it was a good recollection on my mind right now of him.”
Zimmer hopes there is a quick resolution from the league regarding Peterson so the Vikings can determine whether the former league MVP is someone they can build their offense around in 2015.
Peterson was suspended by the NFL after he pleaded no contest to recklessly injuring his 4-year-old son last May. If he stays out of further legal trouble and completes the terms of his suspension set by the league, he will be eligible for reinstatement on April 15. But Peterson will carry a cap number of $15.4 million in 2015 if he does not restructure his contract with the Vikings, something he told ESPN he feels no need to do. The front office will then have to decide whether it’s worth paying Peterson, but Zimmer thinks he can still bring value to the Vikings, the story stated.
All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson's appeal of a league suspension for a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy has been denied, the league announced Friday.
Peterson's appeal was heard by former NFL executive Harold Henderson last week in Washington, D.C. Henderson was appointed by commissioner Roger Goodell as independent arbitrator to hear the sides' cases and issue a ruling.
In upholding the NFL's initial ruling, Henderson concluded that Peterson "has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent." Wrote Henderson: "He was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline."
Peterson is now expected to appeal the decision in federal court.
Peterson should not be rostered in redraft formats. Barring a miracle, he's not going to make a fantasy impact this season.
Jerick McKinnon's promising rookie season is over.
The Minnesota Vikings announced Saturday that the rookie running back has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a nagging lower back injury.
McKinnon, a third-round draft pick out of Georgia Southern, was leading the Vikings in carries (113), rushing yards (538) and yards per carry (4.8). Among rookie backs, he ranks third in rushing yards, behind Jeremy Hill and Tre Mason.
The runner will have a procedure done on his back with a recovery time of about eight weeks, ESPN.com's Adam Caplan reported.
McKinnon is still a nice dynasty/keeper value for next season given Adrian Peterson's up-in-the-air status with the Vikings. Peterson could win his appeal and be reinstated as soon as Week 15, assuming the Vikings want to welcome him back when there's not much to play for. Matt Asiata figures to continue as the lead back for now, with Ben Tate and Joe Banyard in the mix.
Saturday, December 6, 2014, 2:18pm
But Peterson doesn't buy the notion that age, the legal turmoil that touched off a fight with the NFL or the loss of nearly an entire season have erased his chances to accomplish his long-established goal of becoming the league's all-time leading rusher.
"People say, 'Oh, running back hits 34, 35 (and he's done). When you get to 30, you go down.' I don't believe that," Peterson told USA TODAY Sports on Nov. 20, in his only extended interview since his legal troubles began nearly three months ago.
"I believe I'm just now here in my prime. I believe these next five or six years – or however long I decide to play – it's going to be the same production and I'm going to do even better than I did before in my 20s."
Appeals officer Harold Henderson this week heard Peterson's case to vacate the NFL's decision to suspend him Nov. 18 for at least the rest of this season, with reinstatement no sooner than April 15, 2015. Henderson encouraged both sides to settle, but the league had not made a formal offer as of Friday morning, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Unless he is able to win an appeal of his suspension, Adrian Peterson will miss the rest of the season. The Vikings have used rookie running back Jerick McKinnon as their primary ballcarrier in Peterson's absence, and have also given Matt Asiata plenty of work in passing and goal-line situations.
McKinnon, though, has been dealing with a low back injury, and did not practice on Wednesday. Asiata also missed practice with a concussion, and the health of both backs -- as well as the loss of Peterson -- could explain the Vikings' quest for more running back depth.
Since McKinnon played through his back injury last week, Asiata seems less likely to play in Week 12, and that may thrust Tate into a backup role against the Packers. McKinnon's workload is fairly safe, though the arrival of Tate doesn't help. It's a sign that the team is not optimistic about Adrian Peterson's chances of winning his appeal.
Peterson plans to file an appeal of his punishment, which stems from his no contest plea in a child abuse case where the NFL star admitted that he hit his four-year-old son with a wooden switch and inflicted injuries to his thighs, genitals, buttocks, hands and back.
Das ruled that Peterson "failed to establish on this record that the NFL violated either the letter agreement or the CBA."
The story said that Peterson will stay on the exempt list while he appeals the suspension - and the piece added this ruling pretty much ensures Peterson won't play again this season. At this point, it's looking like owners can safely drop Peterson. It's also very possible AP has played his last snap as a Viking. His keeper status is very much in question.
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