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.
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 10:08pm
Jennings became expendable when the team traded for Mike Wallace. Jennings was the #42 WR in PPR formats, posting 59 catches for 742 yards and six touchdowns in his second season with the team. He'll turn 32 in September and still has some gas in the tank.
Starting with the Dolphins, this news is good for Jarvis Landry and the newly acquired Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron since Wallace's 7.2 targets per game are now up for grabs. In Minnesota, Wallace will likely start opposite Charles Johnson with Greg Jennings serving as the team's WR3. (Fantasy owners should not expect much from Cordarrelle Patterson in 2015.) We're wary any time a receiver changes teams, especially when he's not getting a promotion, which is the case here with Wallace. The acquisition is good news for Teddy Bridgewater, who averaged a solid 15.0 FP after his Week 10 bye. Those are QB2-type numbers, so with a year under his belt and Wallace in the mix, Bridgewater should be a good QBBC/streaming option in his second season.
In his final three seasons with the Vikings, Harvin averaged 16.3 fantasy points (PPR) and was dangerous in both the passing game (averaging 5.6-64-.35) and the running game (2.4 carries for 14 yards and 0.10 TD). In 14 regular season games with the Seahawks and the Jets, Harvin has averaged just 50 total yards and 0.14 TD per game, resulting in 9.6 PPR fantasy points. He turns 27 this summer and still has elite speed for his position, so he should be a hot commodity in free agency despite his poor production in recent years. There are character concerns, but if he lands in the right situation, he will be a fantasy factor in 2015.
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.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 6:44pm
Bostick has talent but was never able to stay healthy and put it together in Green Bay.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 3:28pm
Browns writer Tony Grossi: Bumped into former Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner and one of the more depressing things he related was that Charles Johnson is “far and away our best receiver” on the Minnesota Vikings.
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 Norv Turner's offense.
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.
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