Jerick McKinnon Rides Again

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The Minnesota Vikings have traditionally employed some really good running backs over the years. Robert Smith eventually gave way to Adrian Peterson before Dalvin Cook was passed the torch.

Jerick McKinnon Rides Again

Their backups have also been talented, and Jerick McKinnon is no outlier to that reality. On Sunday night, he won yet another Super Bowl, and his eight years in the NFL have been wildly productive.

The Vikings drafted Jerick McKinnon in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Georgia Southern. Anthony Barr was their first pick that year, and Teddy Bridgewater followed him. Scott Crichton flamed out before getting started, and McKinnon is still going. Arguably the best player from that class, McKinnon spent four seasons with Minnesota before being with both of this year’s Super Bowl teams.

McKinnon Rides
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

One season with the San Francisco 49ers, with work as their starter, led to McKinnon taking a role in the Kansas City Chiefs backfield. This was his third season working with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, and he has done an exceptional job providing value while not being the main ball carrier at any point.

The Chiefs needed additional weapons on offense this year as the wide receiver group looked about as poor as possible, and young running back Isaiah Pacheco was still coming into his own. McKinnon was limited to just 12 games this season after suffering a groin injury, and he missed all of the playoffs up until the Super Bowl. Activated with a practice window, allowing him to play in the season’s final game, working back to that level of health was relatively remarkable.

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Despite being originally unexpected to play, McKinnon was not only active but contributed for the Chiefs. Although he didn’t get a touch out of the backfield, he hauled in both of his targets for 15 yards on the evening. With the Chiefs fumbling the football four times, once from the running back Pachecho, seeing McKinnon provide a veteran level of leadership from the sidelines was not unexpected at all.

Having started just 18 of his 116 career regular season games, McKinnon has never been the guy, but he has always been one of the guys. His ability to prop up teammates and provide leadership is something that both the Vikings and Chiefs have benefitted from. He represents a glue guy type in a locker room, and having those sorts of personalities on Super Bowl-winning teams is not a coincidence.

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McKinnon will be 32 years old next season, and while he doesn’t have a highlight reel worth of NFL exploits, he has a pair of flashy rings for his fingers, which has been pretty cool to see.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.