Jerick McKinnon, who will likely be the Vikings’ starting running back if Adrian Peterson doesn’t return to the team, is recovering from back surgery.
McKinnon told the Star Tribune that he tried to play through his back injury late in the season, but it just got too bad to manage. He needed surgery and is expecting to be good to go for 2015.
“I was happy with how the season went. It was a blessing, just being able to play in the NFL, a dream come true,” he said. “I took it for what it was. I’m happy but I’m not content.”
A college quarterback in a run-first offense at Georgia Southern, McKinnon had a great performance at last year’s Combine and was drafted by the Vikings with the idea that he could be brought along slowly in learning the running back position while backing up Adrian Peterson. As it turned out, Peterson was suspended for child abuse and McKinnon emerged as the Vikings’ starter. He played very well, averaging 4.8 yards a carry, and will either be the Vikings’ No. 2 running back if Peterson returns next year or the No. 1 running back if Peterson is gone.
But in order for McKinnon to be the starting running back, he has to get healthy and stay healthy.