Monday, March 27, 2017

jerick mckinnon

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Out with the old (No. 28), in with the new (No. 25)

Upgrade for the Minnesota Vikings
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mark Twain once said this of humans: “Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.”

I think back to childhood and remember picking scabs. You’d cut yourself, watch the blood coagulate into a rough piece of skin, then rip the protective layer away with your finger. Why’d we do it? And why do so many people continue to interrupt the body’s natural healing process?

For me, there was something oddly satisfying about the slight rush of pain and the “resetting” of the biological clock. I marveled at my skin’s ability to heal itself time and time again, but as I grew up, I grew out of the habit — or so I thought.

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image via Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings were in search of a “Thunder” style running back to pair with the “Lightning” that is Jerick McKinnon.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman noticed and acted.

Early Thursday morning (or late Wednesday night), the Minnesota Vikings announced they signed former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray.

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Why not Latavius Murray
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

So the Minnesota Vikings didn’t get their guy in Eddie Lacy; what a bummer.

The 267-pound running back signed a one-year, $5.55 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks, ending any hope he’d make the short trip from Wisconsin to Minneapolis. While Lacy was surely a fit with the Vikings, he likely saw Seattle as the more lucrative destination — a run-first offense with the necessary backs to rotate and split carries.

Lacy turned down comparable offers from the Vikings and Packers, leaving Rick Spielman empty-handed once again this free agency period. Fortunately, the running back market’s been soft—thanks, pass-happy offenses—and remains abundant with talent. Spielman recognized the surfeit of options, quickly shifting focus to another high-profile player looking for a new home — Latavius Murray.

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And other Free Agency thoughts

Eddie Lacy to the Vikings Makes Sense
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Say what you will about Eddie Lacy’s eating habits or his love of Chinese food, but the former Packers running back is a perfect fit for the Minnesota Vikings. In his five-year career, he’s gained more than 3,400 yards and scored 23 times, averaging 4.4 yards per carry in Green Bay’s pass-happy offense.

Nevermind his weight; Minnesota knows all too well how effective Lacy can be on the ground. In seven games against the division rival Vikings, Lacy amassed 618 yards and scored five touchdowns to contribute to Green Bay’s four series victories. At 5’11” and 231 pounds, he’s a load to bring down and the potential “thunder” to complement the “lightning” that is Jerick McKinnon in Minnesota’s backfield.

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Where Do the Vikings Head From Here
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

[In part one of this three-part series, Austin Belisle and Brett Anderson team up to put together an in-depth offseason plan for the Minnesota Vikings.]

Football, more than any other sport, is an unpredictable game. A loose ball, a tipped pass, a broken tackle; the slightest shift in momentum or circumstance can flip competition on its head. Franchises prepare for the random nature of the game, but often fall victim to factors they can’t control.

Such was the case for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. From Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury to the merry-go-round at offensive line, the team struggled to bounce back in the face of adversity. Players on the defensive side of the ball underperformed, turmoil forced a turnover on the coaching staff, and Mike Zimmer’s eye blurred Minnesota’s season outlook.

Combined, the weekly distractions and diversions were too much for the Vikings to overcome. They stalled to an 8-8 finish after starting the season 5-0; missing the playoffs just one year removed from winning the NFC North. Like any team in the NFL, the Vikings had one end-goal in mind: the Super Bowl. But dreaming of a Lombardi Trophy and winning the actual game are two different things.

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