Once again we’re back to that post-draft sex sheen we all get when we start talking about young men in shorts who are now OURS. And since it coincides with the beginning of the long NFL offseason, we’ll take our damn time in reviewing each Vikings draft pick from 2014. In Purple Jesus Diaries’ NFL Draft-or-Bust Off 2014, we continue our amateur insight into the draft picks by reviewing our second third round pick, RB Jerick McKinnon from Georgia Southern …
The Vikings second third round pick (That’s a lot of numbers for a draft pick) was a running back from Georgia Southern. Immediately, you’re probably asking yourself two questions. One; what the hell is a Georgia Southern? Two; why are the Vikings using a draft pick on a running back when they have Adrian Peterson, who is the Toyotas of running backs, destined to outlive the normal lifespan of similar makes on the road by at least a decade. So, Peterson is turning 30 this year? Who cares? He isn’t slowing down, nor will he. HOWEVER! With Toby Durrhart leaving, we don’t really have a reliable back up to Purple Jesus. Can the 5’9″, 209 pound scat back be the answer? I like him as the answer already more than I ever liked Gerhart, so in short – YES! EXCITE!
What do we call this guy? Jerick McKinnon is known as a smaller back, but speedy, shifty, and a work out warrior. Is it racist to call him “Speedy McKinnon“? Or “Last Train From Georgia Southern“? That one is probably too long. Since he’s likely to be that third down, scat back, and since he use to play quarterback as a dual threat option, could we call him “Triple Threat“? That or Speedy are my best guesses. What do you have?
SIX TO MIDNIGHT
The thing about McKinnon that is most exciting is that he (at least on the surface) appears to be everything I’ve ever wanted in a back up to Adrian Peterson, but have never had. He’s a shiftier, route running, dual threat running back, to counter Peterson’s down hill running, “bust your chin open and eat your soul” kind of attack. For the last four years, we’ve just had to watch Toby bumbling around instead. It’s been dumb. I don’t like that pairing with Peterson. Hell, think about how Norv will use McKinnon AND Peterson out on the field together?! That’s exciting.
I don’t want to think of McKinnon as the guy that is being groomed to take over for Peterson, because that would make me rage-post on my blog, and then the Internet Police will probably shut me down. Instead, I’m going to keep thinking of him as a complimentary piece, which is exactly what he should be. And should be well.
SHE’S GOT A HEADACHE!
He’s a third down back, not a feature back. So, you won’t see McKinnon blowing people up on a block, bowling everyone over, or being featured on every play. He isn’t featured because he doesn’t make people miss like Peterson does in the open field, and I would guess isn’t as fast as Peterson. But really, who is?! Not even Percy Harvin was. There are also the questions of “So, he played at Georgia Southern. Is he going to be good playing against – you know, the NFL?” It’s a legitimate question for most players, but McKinnon killed it at the combine against guys who played in larger conferences, and I feel like the whole “competition” question becomes less important for running backs. You either run well or you don’t, right?
Really, all these “negatives” are probably fairly typically seen issues with most running backs in the NFL these days, where feature backs are a thing of the past. I don’t like that (the whole “running back by committee” garbage), but if it helps prolong Peterson’s career by sharing carries with someone not as good as him (McKinnon or anyone else in the league, of course), then whatever. I’m fine with it.
You can see he does get chased down from behind occasionally and isn’t really breaking people’s ankles all that much, but he’s got pretty good balance and vision from what my expert analysis can tell, so whatever. I’m sure he’s fine.
The real question with McKinnon (and most of the rest of the Vikings draft picks, from the third round on) should not be whether they can be starters in the NFL right away (obviously), but can the compliment the current position starter and hold their own. Basically, rookie, don’t f*ck up. I don’t think McKinnon will (but what do I know), and all the good things about him are good things I’ve been looking for in a back up running back for years for Peterson. It’ll be interesting to see what Norv Turner does with McKinnon (and Peterson, for that matter), after he had years with LaDanian Tomlinson. McKinnon can fill a similar role, which should help the Vikings offense and take some load off of Peterson. Again, just don’t be a f*ck up and no one is going to be mad! Easy, right?