The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 17, 2014

Vikings hope rookie RB is quick study

EDEN PRAIRIE — Jerick McKinnon was the last of Minnesota's 10 draft picks to sign his rookie contract.

That's about the only race he wouldn't win.

The Vikings selected McKinnon in the third round out of Georgia Southern, using a pick acquired from Seattle in the Percy Harvin trade the previous year. They targeted him for versatility, his vision and, of course, his speed.

"Too good of an athlete to pass up," general manager Rick Spielman said. "Just too explosive of a player."

McKinnon played a variety of places on the field for the Eagles, a perennial FCS power, frequently as an option-style quarterback. He also played cornerback and lined up as a slot receiver. The Vikings targeted McKinnon as a running back, hopeful the 5-foot-9, 210-pound prospect can be a productive alternative to Adrian Peterson.

"Honestly, I think I can do everything," McKinnon said, ambitiously not arrogantly. "But I guess the coaches have a vision of what they want from me, and whatever that role is I'm ready to embrace it and do the best that I can for the team."

When Toby Gerhart, the dependable backup for the last four seasons, left as a free agent, the Vikings needed to find another ball carrier. Peterson is 29, approaching ancient status at his position. Plus, about every NFL offense worth its playbook has a change-of-pace runner who can slither through the line or catch passes on the perimeter.

Putting the ball in the hands of multiple skills players has been a hallmark of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who turned Darren Sproles into a rushing-receiving threat when he was coach for San Diego.

As the Vikings started minicamp Tuesday, their final series of organized practices before a five-week break prior to training camp, McKinnon was coming along nicely.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Oakland Raiders To Become San Antonio Raiders? - @TheBuzzeronFox 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Byron Scott Reportedly New Head Coach Of Los Angeles Lakers - @TheBuzzeronFox SportsNite: Botched play Gruden: Full-speed practices key for fundamentals Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France College Football Playoff Prognosis: Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Playoff Prognosis: Nebraska Cornhuskers Jake Peavy traded from Red Sox to Giants Browns wants Johnny Football to buckle down How Losing Joe Bergeron Affects Texas What will Pierzynski bring to St. Louis?