Former Viking Quietly Slipped into AFC East

Nov 7, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Buffalo Bills helmet before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports.

Oodles of Minnesota Vikings players skedaddled this offseason as the club sought to become more nimble financially.

Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), Irv Smith (TE, Bengals), Kris Boyd (CB, Cardinals), and Chandon Sullivan (CB, Steelers) departed in March and April.

Former Viking Quietly Slipped into AFC East

And another former Viking who hasn’t been a part of the team since 2018 found a new home with the Buffalo Bills — running back Latavius Murray.

Quietly Slipped into AFC
Dec 3, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray (25) carries the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Sunday, “The Bills signed veteran RB Latavius Murray to a 1-year contract. He visited them earlier in the offseason.” Buffalo marks Murray’s sixth team in 10 seasons, tallying a resume mixed with longevity and production since 2014.

A Pro Bowler in 2015 with the [then] Oakland Raiders, Murray was a member of the Vikings team that sprinted to the NFC Championship in 2017. Dalvin Cook was a rookie, tore his ACL, and Murray’s name was called for RB1 duty with a side dish for Jerick McKinnon, who is currently on the Kansas City Chiefs roster. Notably, Murray took the RB1 title back in 2017 free agency just as future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson left the Vikings for good.

Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos running back Latavius Murray (28) runs the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Murray played for a goofy team last year in the Denver Broncos that has enough talent to win a Super Bowl — on paper — but has produced an anemic brand of football. In the 2022 offseason, former Vikings executive George Paton (now the Broncos general manager) swung a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks for Russell Wilson. The move careened Denver up folks’ power rankings, but the Broncos played clownishly, resulting in the termination of head coach Nathaniel Hackett after a single season and the hire of Vikings rival Sean Payton.

Murray tabulated 1,420 rushing yards with the Vikings on 356 carries for 4.0 yards-per-rush and 14 touchdowns. He truly helped the Vikings almost-storybook season remain afloat in 2017 when the aforementioned Cook was lost to injury.

Jan 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Latavius Murray (28) runs for a third-quarter touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports.

Since beginning his playing career in 2014, Murray ranks fourth in the NFL for rushing touchdowns (55). His 6,252 rushing yards are the sixth-most in the same timeframe.

In Buffalo, Murray will vie for playing time with RBs James Cook — Dalvin Cook’s brother — Damien Harris, Nyheim Hines, and rookie Jordan Nims. He usually finds a way to make a team’s regular season roster, so the 33-year-old might be in good shape this September.

The Bills employ two other former Vikings — tight end Zach Davidson and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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