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.