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Rookie Jerick McKinnon is Ready For a Challenge with the Minnesota Vikings

Meet Jerick McKinnon. 

McKinnon was an all-state quarterback in high school who became a tailback at Georgia Southern. He is 5’9″, and 209 pounds with blazing speed (4.41 40 at NFL Combine), big ups (40 and 1/2 vertical jump, and is tough (32 bench press reps).

In college, McKinnon played a little of quarterback and running back. He was best known for his running traits from the backfield, though. He averaged 89.4 yards a game while rushing for 3,834 yards and 42 touchdowns in his career.

Now, the former Georgia Southern back can learn from one the NFL’s best running backs, Adrian Peterson.

“Uh, I was happy to learn from the best in the game right now you know. Take his knowledge and soak it in like a sponge and you know better myself as football player by learning from him. So, I was really happy,” McKinnon says.

The Vikings are looking forward to watching him grow in their system, too. His athleticism definitely caught the eyes of the coaching staff in Minnesota.

“We drafted the young man because we think he has outstanding upside. We know and knew that it is going to be a process because he’s never played running back (in NFL), but I think he caught everyone’s eye and attention at how quickly he adjusted to everything while we were in shorts and jerseys. Now, we are going to put the pads on and same thing I said about Adrian (Peterson). We are going to find things he does best. He’s a very good receiver, he’s good in space, he’s got the ability to get on the outside as a runner, and are going to look at those things and see how he progresses,” tells Norv Turner.

McKinnon’s impact could be in the backfield, in the passing game, or on special teams. But in the meantime, he wants to get on the gridiron and learn from his teammates.

“(Besides Peterson), Matt Asiata is a great running back and Joe Banyard is a good running back as well. So, learning from those guys and taking stuff from their game and adding it to my game to become an overall running back,” adds McKinnon.

McKinnon gets it. He’s ready to work hard and hopefully it will pay off.

“All I can do is come out every day and work and get better. I am learning from veterans every day, so I am privileged and blessed to be in this spot that I am in.”

**Sam Tastad was in Mankato for Vikings Training Camp on Saturday. Be sure to follow all week for complete coverage. For comments and story ideas, email Sam at and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)


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