Former Viking Teams up with Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Former Vikings players are teaming up all over the league. Browns head coach Kevin Stafanski, and former longtime Vikings coach, signed Dalvin Tomlinson to a big contract after he played with the Vikings for two seasons.

Another former Vikings coordinator, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, brought in Patrick Peterson to ensure stability in the defensive backfield despite the departure of Cameron Sutton. During the draft, he added another 2022 Vikings defender. Slot cornerback Chandon Sullivan joined the group in Pittsburgh.

Former Viking Teams up with Stefon Diggs

Former Viking Teams up With Stefon Diggs
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of days after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills announced the signing of former Vikings running back Latavius Murray.

Stefon Diggs experienced a reunion just last year when his team signed Case Keenum to back up Josh Allen, the duo that gave Vikings fans a moment they will never forget was reunified.

Murray is now 33 years old and no longer the effective runner he once was. The Vikings had him for two of his prime years on the team. A 2013 sixth-round selection of the then Oakland Raiders, Murray came into the league with an unusual size of 6-3 and 230 pounds, and with explosive speed, Murray ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He had a long career, longer than everyone could have predicted in an NFL where running backs experience a sharp decline in athleticism and production after turning 28.

After missing his rookie campaign with an injury, Murray played in Oakland for three seasons, recording almost 3,000 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns. He also logged his only 1,000-yard campaign in 2015.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In 2017, Murray left the Raiders, and the free agent signed a three-year deal with the Vikings. Adrian Peterson had just left the organization, and Murray was brought in to replace him. He changed his jersey number from 28 to 25 out of respect for the Hall of Fame running back.

He likely expected his first few months in Minnesota to be different, but the purple team selected Dalvin Cook in the second round, and his dream to be the starting running back was shattered at that moment. Cook was a phenom coming out of college. There’s no chance a good but not great veteran running back can beat him out.

However, Cook went down with a torn ACL in Week 4, and from that point on, Murray and Jerick McKinnon formed a lethal RB committee that helped the Vikings reach the NFC Championship Game.

Murray played in purple for two seasons before he signed with the Saints, where he spent two seasons and became a journeyman running back. His stats with the Vikings show 1,664 scrimmage yards and 14 scores.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In 2021, Murray played for the injury-plagued Ravens, who lost multiple running backs to injury reserve in training camp. In 2022, Murray played for the Saints and the Broncos. While he lost some of his explosiveness because of age, he is still a huge running back and can run with power. He can still wear defenses down by simply running right at them.

Murray recorded 58.5 rushing yards per game in 2022, the second-best mark of his career. He ranked 35th in rushing yards in 2022, the most of all players age 31 and older. The veteran running back was the featured runner in London when the Saints went up against the Vikings in Week 4 and recorded 57 yards on only 11 carries, and he scored a touchdown.

The former Viking joins a crowded running back group. James Cook, brother of Murray’s former teammate Dalvin, is expected to have a more significant role than last season. Buffalo also added former Patriots runner Damien Harris who has the skills to be a starting back, and receiving specialist Nyheim Hines. It won’t be easy for Murray to earn reps against the trio.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt