Saturday, March 25, 2017

andre ellington

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Welcome to the next installment of our Vikings Free Agency Primer series: the running backs. Check out our other primers on tight ends, defensive ends, cornerbacks, safetiesquarterbacks, wideouts, and defensive tackles.

Ah yes, here we are. The inevitable departure of Adrian Peterson has happened, and we can take a clear look at the Vikings running back situation and what to do about it.

LAST SEASON

It wasn’t good. The Vikings were dead last in the league in rushing last year, and while much of that can (and should) be attributed to the floundering offensive line play, none of the backs did much to inspire hope, either.

Peterson only played in three games due to injury, rushing 37 times for 72 yards—a putrid 1.9-yard average. While we’ll fondly remember the AP glory days—he is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in franchise history—his legendary burst has mellowed, his injuries have begun to pile up, and his cost is most likely too high for a return. The fanbase is ready to move on, and you get the feeling Adrian is, too. It would be surprising if the Vikings re-signed him.

The absence of Peterson thrust Jerick McKinnon into the lead role in 2016, finally giving us the long look at the shifty back many fans had anxiously awaited. It went…fine. McKinnon carried the ball 159 times for 539 yards (3.4 YPC) and two touchdowns, and also had 43 catches for 255 yards and another two TDs. Again, it’s difficult for any runner to perform well without holes to run through—the YPC average was by far the lowest of his career—but McKinnon never really displayed the electrifying ability we hoped he possessed. It may still be in there, but calls for McKinnon to receive more touches have temporarily been silenced.

With the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game now both in that past, there is plenty to speculate about, and one of the first steps in that is identifying which prospects the Vikings have gone out of their way to meet with.

Luckily, the fine folks at Walterfootball.com are keeping tabs on each NFL team and have a list of the prospects that the Vikings have met with.  Of course, this list is probably partial, but it is still fun to scan the prospects that may be getting some extra attention from our favorite team.

Senior Bowl

Oday Aboushi, OL, Viginia

Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest

Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M

Ty Powell, LB, Harding

Bacarri Rambo, DB, Georgia

Robbie Rouse, RB, Fresno State

Brian Schwenke, OL, California

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

Desmond Trufant, DB, Washington

Blidi Wreh-Wilson, DB, Connecticut

East-West Shrine Game

Terron Armstead, OL, Arkansas Pine-Bluff

Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida

Marcus David, WR, Virginia Tech

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

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