Viking rookie running back Jerick McKinnon found out last week he would be making his first career NFL start on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, and the Georgia Southern product proved to be the Minnesota Vikings' most effective weapon on Sunday, in a game where the team had few of them.
McKinnon carried 11 times for 40 yards, catching another six passes for 42 yards and becoming the first Vikings rookie running back to lead the team in receptions since Mewelde Moore on Oct. 17, 2004.
"Whether I start or don’t start I always prepare myself to be ready, as if I was a starter," McKinnon said. "I found out earlier in the week. So I was just trying to be on top of my P’s and Q’s and really dial in this week during practice even more. Make sure I am prepared, and I think that I was really prepared coming into the game."
Coach Mike Zimmer said McKinnon wasn't necessarily guaranteed to start next Sunday against Buffalo, adding the Vikings would evaluate the position this week and saying they "didn't run the ball effectively" on Sunday, the story added. The piece went on to say that of the running backs on the Vikings' current roster, McKinnon's speed and elusiveness make him more likely than Matt Asiata to eventually take over for Adrian Peterson as the featured back (though it seems possible the Vikings will keep using the two in tandem for now). The team just recently said that McKinnon isn't ready to carry the load, but he's definitely trending in the right direction while Asiata looks to be heading the other way. McKinnon now looks to be worth grabbing if he's on your wire.