Jerick McKinnon returns home with plenty of motivation

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Many thought the 2017 Vikings were done the moment Dalvin Cook‘s ACL popped against the Lions. But a two-headed replacement has served the team well — and one of those two players has extra reason to have a great game on Sunday in Atlanta.

Jerick McKinnon grew up in Georgia, and as he returns home he’s thinking about those who doubted that he’d get to where he now is.

“I had a coach at [Marietta Middle School],” McKinnon said this week, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I remember it like it was yesterday. He said I was too small and I was going to get hurt. He said it to my dad because I wasn’t playing much that season and he asked him about it.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that I carry with me since back then, and that’s why I work so hard. It goes back to big schools saying [during recruiting], ‘He’s not big enough.’ . . . When I’m home [this weekend], I’ll reminisce about those things, and how far I’ve come.”

McKinnon ended up at Georgia Southern. In 2014, the Vikings welcomed him to the NFL via the third round of the draft.  But McKinnon has still found a way to stay salty.

“There was an article when I was coming out that said I was a jack of all trades but a master of none,” McKinnon said. “That kind of rubbed me the wrong way, ‘a master of none.’ So, I’ve got it on my screen saver on my phone. I look at it every day. It fuels me.”

The Vikings need a little more fuel from McKinnon if they hope to keep winning. He had a few big games early in the post-Cook run, but Latavius Murray‘s numbers have gone up in recent weeks, and McKinnon’s have dropped. Maybe today is the perfect day for the Minnesota offense to dial his number and tap in to the memories of the motivation that carried him to where he now is.