RB Jerick McKinnon - San Francisco 49ers
|5-9, 209||Born: 5-3-1992||College: Georgia Southern||Drafted: Round 3, pick 96 (2014)|
2017 Week 5 vs CHI (16 / 95 / 1 rush, 6 / 6 / 51 / 0 rec)
McKinnon appeared to be the only Viking that truly showed up on the offensive side of the ball and contributed to all aspects of the game. McKinnon rushed and caught the ball out of the backfield as well as returned kickoffs. McKinnon played with a reckless abandon for his body tonight and was hit hard by the Bears defense. There were several occasions where it looked like he might be knocked out of the game and merely bounced back up and returned to the huddle. McKinnon lead the team in both rushing and receiving and added a 58-yard rush off the right end for a touchdown to put the Vikings up 17-9. McKinnon out touched Murray for the game and may even be in line for the start next week after this performance.
2017 Week 6 vs GB (16 / 69 / 1 rush, 6 / 5 / 30 / 1 rec)
This was another all-around good game for McKinnon as he scored on both the ground and through the air today. However, ball security is starting to become an issue. For a running back that did not fumble once in college, he is starting to show some very poor habits in the NFL in how he carries the ball. Today's fumble was picked up by Clay Matthews and returned 63-yards. This is a theme that will need to be addressed if McKinnon wants to continue to be the starter. The first touchdown came on a 27-yard screen play where McKinnon was able to outrun the first line of defense and then follow his blockers all the way down the sideline and into the end zone. The second touchdown came on a 3-yard draw play and was upheld by video review after it looked like his knee may have touched before crossing the goal line. McKinnon has clearly passed Latavius Murray on the depth chart at this point and if he can fix his fumbling issues he may see his workload increase even more.
2017 Week 7 vs BAL (14 / 47 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 10 / 0 rec)
After earning the starting job with his recent performance, McKinnon was outplayed by Latavius Murray this week. The overall number of touches was almost identical at 17-18 favoring Murray, but McKinnon was unable to break the big play. Jerick still has the upper hand in the passing game and outpaced Murray 3-0. The brightest note for McKinnon today was not fumbling the ball today. This is an issue that has popped up since taking over as a starter but was kept in check today. McKinnon showed a greater ball security today, keeping the ball in tight and switching to the proper arm when changing sides of the field. It will be interesting to see who gets the starting nod next week, but the touch distribution is still expected to be about even. Zimmer was quoted saying they will ride the hot hand and it only takes one play for the explosive McKinnon to make the defense pay.
2017 Week 8 vs CLE (14 / 50 / 1 rush, 10 / 6 / 72 / 0 rec)
Despite receiving fewer touches and coming off the bench today, McKinnon was the most effective Viking's running back. That is not saying much as he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry to Murray's 2.1, and had the same 10-yard rush as a long. McKinnon took his 10-yard rush right up the middle of the defense rather than off tackle. McKinnon's biggest contribution came in the second half with a 1-yard rushing touchdown off the right tackle and then a successful 2-point conversion. McKinnon was also the second-leading receiver for the Vikings in London and tied for the team lead with 10 total targets. This was not the best offensive game for the Vikings, but McKinnon still showed he is the most versatile running back. The coaching staff seems to be a week behind in picking their starting running back. Murray may have been the better back last week, but it was McKinnon that deserved the start today.
2017 Week 10 vs WAS (10 / 32 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
It has been a back and forth affair with Murray and McKinnon all season, but there seems to be more of a pattern developing lately. McKinnon is clearly the better pass catching back and plays a role on special teams, while Murray is used in more power and rushing situations. McKinnon averaged 3.2 yards per carry and had almost a third of his yards come on one carry. It has been a struggle in the Viking's backfield since Adrian Peterson left, but there seem to be more clear and defined roles for McKinnon and Murray now. Despite the gaudy passing numbers for Keenum, McKinnon only had 2 targets and was used very sparingly in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if the Viking's success throwing the ball this week opens anything up on the ground next week.
2017 Week 11 vs LAR (14 / 48 / 0 rush, 7 / 5 / 12 / 0 rec)
McKinnon struggled to get going in this game on the ground as his longest carry on the day was just nine yards. McKinnon was still on the field for 62% of the snaps as his pass catching ability is still extremely valuable to this team. McKinnon caught five passes out of the backfield and most of them were check-downs including two which went for negative seven yards. At times, McKinnon tried to make a big play instead of taking what the defense gave to him and against a quick defense ended up hurting him as the plays went for negative yards as he had four plays on the day that went for negative yardage.
2017 Week 12 vs DET (13 / 23 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / 31 / 0 rec)
This was not the best game for McKinnon as he averaged 1.8 yards per carry and had 4 carries that he lost a total of 15 yards on. This offsets his efforts on the first drive of the second half where he followed a 46-yard run by Latavius Murray with runs of 11 and 16 yards to set up a Vikings touchdown. McKinnon also had issues with ball security as he appeared to fumble after his 31-yard catch and run. The ball was recovered by Adam Thielen in the end zone but the call was overturned after review as his knee was down before the fumble. McKinnon and Murray have had similar workloads for most of the season, but McKinnon appears to be fading in the rushing department. The Vikings do not have much depth behind McKinnon and he will continue to get more work than Murray in passing situations.
2017 Week 13 vs ATL (9 / 24 / 0 rush, 5 / 5 / 28 / 1 rec)
This was another rough rushing day for McKinnon. He did not surpass 25 yards rushing and only averaged 2.7 yards per carry when he did touch the ball. The only saving grace was the 2-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. McKinnon was able to use Kyle Rudolph as a rub for his linebacker in coverage and a rolling Case Keenum found him all alone in the end zone for the first Vikings touchdown. The best part of the highlight was he capped the touchdown with the old Atlanta 'dirty bird' celebration as a throwback to the city he grew up in. Thankfully this did not serve as motivation for the Falcons and the Vikings managed to walk away with the win.
2017 Week 14 vs CAR (7 / 46 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
The Vikings did not fare very well on the ground at all this week. With 100 total yards on the ground, 40 of which came from quarterback Case Keenum, but McKinnon and Murray had rough days. On the bright side, McKinnon did lead the team with 46 rushing yards, averaged 6.6 yards per carry, and even broke off a 17-yard scamper to lead all rushers. However, McKinnon has equally as rough a day through the air and only caught 2 of his 3 targets for 9 yards and was also tackled almost immediately, just like Murray. The Vikings offensive line was manhandled all game and both McKinnon and Murray suffered. McKinnon definitely had the better day, but that is not saying much as he only managed 6 more yards than a non-running quarterback. Look for a better showing next week at home against the Bengals.
2017 Week 15 vs CIN (9 / 24 / 0 rush, 8 / 7 / 114 / 0 rec)
McKinnon seems to be fading towards the end of the season in the rushing department. He received 9 carries to Murray's 20 but played a major part in the passing attack against the Bengals. McKinnon was the only Viking receiver to surpass 100 yards and also lead the team in targets and receptions. The biggest play of the day came on his 41-yard catch and run down the sideline. After outrunning the linebacker in coverage, McKinnon did not have anyone in front of him and was able to scamper down the sideline until a safety was able to come over and make the stop. McKinnon seems to have taken to his role very well in recent weeks and has made the best of the passing opportunities given him.
2017 Week 16 vs GB (7 / 42 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
This was a tough game for Viking running backs as a whole, but McKinnon may have been the lone bright spot in his limited duty. McKinnon averaged 6 yards per carry, but the Vikings still did not increase his usage this week. McKinnon had the longest running play for the Viking as well with a 17-yard scamper down the sideline to help set up a field goal for the Vikings. McKinnon was not used nearly as much in the passing game as he only saw 2 targets and caught 1 for 9 yards. The Vikings have a two-headed rushing attack that they have moved away from in recent weeks. McKinnon seems to be being rested down the stretch, but the Vikings will need him as the playoffs approach.
2017 Week 17 vs CHI (12 / 44 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The success of the run game was the story of this game, but that did not have a lot to do with McKinnon this week. Murray was having so much success that the Vikings did not need to use McKinnon as much. McKinnon had success on only 1 run with a 14-yard burst but was largely contained outside of that. He had 1 target in the passing game but was unable to haul in the catch. With a week off to rest and game plan, McKinnon will be healthy and ready to take on whichever team wins the wild card round. Look for an expanded role throughout the playoffs as the Vikings look to keep their balanced attack.
2017 Week 19 vs NO (8 / 34 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 6 / 0 rec)
McKinnon had a very similar day to Murray and was really unable to get much going on the ground. He did score the first touchdown of the game for the Vikings with a 14-yard scamper off the left end. He was able to outrun the entire Saints defense and was untouched on his way to the end zone. McKinnon has always been the change of pace back to Murray, but neither could find much success. McKinnon did average 4.3 yards per carry to lead all running backs, but he was not given enough volume to really make a difference. Murray had 21 touches and McKinnon was only given 11. This has been par for the course all season long for the Vikings and will most likely continue through the rest of the playoffs.
2016 Week 1 vs TEN (1 / 6 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 3 / 0 rec)
McKinnon is pretty much sidelined with Adrian Peterson the chief back, and the issues with the defense stacking the box made it even less likely he would see the field for more than a couple of snaps.
2016 Week 2 vs GB (2 / 2 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / -1 / 0 rec)
After Adrian Peterson left with a knee injury, McKinnon got his two carries. He struggled to gain any traction on either of them and two carries isn't enough to get him into a rhythm. If Peterson is out, he is likely to get the bulk of the carries, as he did with Peterson's suspension in 2014.
2016 Week 3 vs CAR (16 / 45 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
McKinnon had a hard time behind a bad offensive line which was not only without left tackle Matt Kalil, but lost left guard Alex Boone early in the game. All of the yards McKinnon got in the first half were hard to come by, and took massive effort. On his first run, a 4-yard scramble, he collided with tacklers at the line of scrimmage, broke away from the defender, moved to his left and gained a few more yards before being brought down. McKinnon also struggled at times picking up blitzing defenders in the first half, getting rolled at one point on a sack by linebacker Thomas Davis. McKinnon improved his pass blocking later on, though, and helped buy quarterback Sam Bradford time make his throws in the second half. Unfortunately, it was still very tough sledding on the ground for McKinnon, who continued to fight hard for minimal yards. McKinnon was on the field far more than Matt Asiata, stepping in for 35 percent of the offensive snaps to Asiata's 35 percent (35 vs. 19 snaps) and looks to be getting most of the work even if Asiata gets the start.
2016 Week 4 vs NYG (18 / 85 / 1 rush, 5 / 3 / 10 / 0 rec)
McKinnon has taken over the lead role in the backfield, on the field for 46 out of 74 offensive snaps compared to just 29 for Matt Asiata. The carries bear that out as well, as McKinnon carried the rock 18 times compared to just six for Asiata. The presence of McKinnon in the backfield instead of Adrian Peterson continues to open opportunities for the offense which were not there before, and while he's not piling up the yards doing so, McKinnon sees his fair share of targets as well. The Vikings offensive line did a nice job Monday night, stymieing a defense which had allowed just 84 yards per game on the ground (the Vikings combined for 104 Monday) and opening lanes for McKinnon. His best run came late in the first, a 25-yard off-tackle play where the Vikings pulled two linemen to seal off the outside edge, springing McKinnon for a big gain. They also did a great job on McKinnon's touchdown, a 4-yard play which sealed the game early in the fourth quarter, again pulling a guard to seal off the inside lane which McKinnon waltzed through, untouched.
2016 Week 5 vs HOU (20 / 36 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
For McKinnon, this was a tail of two games. There's the good McKinnon, who totaled a lot of yards early, gashed the Houston defense several times while showing off some nice agility. And there's Struggling McKinnon who got clobbered behind the line for much of the day. It was a mixed bag for McKinnon on Sunday, with a solid run followed up by a lot of spinning his wheels.
2016 Week 9 vs DET (7 / 8 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McKinnon was completely off the field on passing downs, and got killed at or behind the line of scrimmage. He may still be hurt, as McKinnon didn't seem confident when running and had a hard time hitting the holes quickly and getting to the second level. There's a good chance he loses downs to Ronnie Hillman soon.
2016 Week 10 vs WAS (6 / 16 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 17 / 0 rec)
As has been the case all season long, the ground game never got going for the Vikings. McKinnon found little room to run and was in on only 32 of 67 offensive snaps, though that is more than any other back.
2016 Week 11 vs ARI (16 / 44 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / -3 / 0 rec)
While we thought Ronnie Hillman would get a bigger piece of the pie, that hasn't happened, although Jerick McKinnon has continued to struggle behind a bad offensive line. He did do a nice job gaining first downs on a couple of drives late in the game but too often he was hampered by defensive players who hit him at or behind the line.
2016 Week 12 vs DET (9 / 31 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 45 / 0 rec)
McKinnon continues to struggle behind an awful offensive line, but ended up with a somewhat productive day since he added 45 yards through the air. McKinnon was met by defenders at or behind the line of scrimmage all day and just couldn't get any space to breathe. He also didn't get much use in the red zone once again, the only rushing touchdown going to short yardage specialist Matt Asiata. McKinnon was only on the field for 37 - or 63% - of the offensive snaps.
2016 Week 13 vs DAL (9 / 41 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 14 / 1 rec)
McKinnon had one of his better days, averaging 4.1 yards per carry, but continuing to get hit too often behind the line of scrimmage. It is far too easy for teams to stack the line and swarm the ballcarrier when there is no threat of the quarterback stretching the field out. McKinnon hasn't looked as good as we'd hoped, but some of his struggles fall at the feet of an abominable offensive line. His one saving grace on the day was a touchdown reception near the end of the game. On the play, McKinnon appeared to be running a drag route across the shallow-middle of the field, but suddenly cut back into the flat, leaving his defenders confused. After losing his footing and almost falling, McKinnon caught a short pass from Sam Bradford and easily scored.
2016 Week 14 vs JAX (14 / 31 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 38 / 0 rec)
McKinnon struggled behind an offensive line which lost another player to injury and generally didn't block well on rushing plays. Luckily for him he can catch the ball, and he led the team in targets, catching all six of them. He continues to get more carries than Matt Asiata (14-11 this week) and is more involved in the passing game, but with the line blocking the way it does, he just doesn't get enough room to run. McKinnon is not proving to be a player who can create his own yards, and this offensive line isn't helping him at all.
2016 Week 15 vs IND (3 / 12 / 0 rush, 9 / 9 / 59 / 0 rec)
Adrian Peterson took over the lead back job again but once the game got out of hand, McKinnon got on the field instead. Peterson isn't great in pass protection or receiving, and the Vikings needed to go with the backs who gave them greater protection. That led to McKinnon being on the field a lot more than Peterson. He barely carried the ball, though, instead leading the team with nine receptions. He was also the target on what should have been Sam Bradford's second interception of the day, a short dump pass right to the defender which was negated due to a roughing the passer penalty which was a bit iffy. Otherwise, McKinnon struggled to run the ball and the majority of his targets were short, dump down passes.
2016 Week 16 vs GB (11 / 50 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 35 / 0 rec)
Despite facing the No. 9 run defense in the NFL, McKinnon had some success on Saturday. Interestingly, McKinnon's first two touches were passes, not carries. He was frequently thrown too throughout the day as the Vikings desperately tried to claw their way back into the game from early 14-3 and 28-13 deficits. McKinnon had one of his more effective days running, though, showing some nice burst and good vision as he ran well behind a shaky offensive line.
2016 Week 17 vs CHI (16 / 89 / 1 rush, 4 / 3 / 21 / 1 rec)
It's been a tough slog behind the Vikings offensive line this year, but Sunday saw a better than average effort on their part against a lackluster Bears front seven. McKinnon had the good fortune to see a lot of open space and well-blocked gaps, and he showed why people were actually excited to see what he could do when Adrian Peterson went down. McKinnon showed off his receiving skills as well, with a 16-yard touchdown on a swing pass in the first quarter. After Sam Bradford delivered the ball, McKinnon accelerated towards the sideline, sidestepping a diving Bears defender then zooming down the sideline and diving for the cone for the score. McKinnon also scored in the fourth quarter out of the Wildcat, faking a handoff and then showing his speed to get around the corner and upfield for the score (with a nice block from Adam Thielen).
2015 Week 1 vs SF (3 / 20 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
While Jerick McKinnon got just a few touches Monday night, he was actually the one person who managed to look good in the offense. He had several runs where he showed off some of the nice speed and vision, including a 15-yard scamper up the middle in the second quarter. On the play the offensive line actually blocked and McKinnon didn't hesitate to hit and clear the hole. He made a nice jump cut to avoid a tackler than took the ball another 10 yards. He also looked good on a 10-yard gain on a swing pass where he caught the ball in the open and then made several players miss. While he won't see the field until Adrian Peterson is no longer a Viking (or is hurt), he is showing he might have what it takes to succeed after the AD is gone.
2015 Week 2 vs DET (3 / 6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Like Matt Asiata, the return of Adrian Peterson has killed Jerrick McKinnon's value. He still had the chance to show off some of the skill we saw last season, particularly on his second run. In the fourth quarter, McKinnon took a handoff on a 2nd and 4, running off the right tackle. A pair of Lions defenders were able to get a hand on him and make him stumble. However, McKinnon didn't go down, instead pivoting on one hand to regain his balance and continue upfield, nearly getting the first down.
2015 Week 3 vs SD (6 / 18 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McKinnon got a few touches to spell Peterson and showed a good burst when he wasn't met in the backfield.
2015 Week 4 vs DEN (1 / 6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
With Peterson running well, McKinnon is clearly on the bench. His one carry resulted in a solid run, but nothing more and he was on the field for just three snaps.
2015 Week 6 vs KC (1 / 2 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McKinnon is well and truly buried behind Adrian Peterson and barring an injury or other absence for Peterson, McKinnon will be riding the pine for most of any game.
2015 Week 7 vs DET (9 / 36 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
With Adrian Peterson struggling, the Vikings decided to change things up a little and give McKinnon more carries than he has been getting this season. He showed some flashes of the ability we saw last season, with some quick jumps to the hole and some elusiveness. It helped he wasn't Adrian Peterson, which meant he wasn't facing a stacked front on every carry and as that was the case he had a little more success at times. He showed some great balance on a run in the second quarter. On the play, he took a pitch from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and ran left. He was hit by a Lions defender but kept his balance and didn't go down, gaining an extra eight yards. He's not Adrian Peterson, but as we have seen in the past, McKinnon can carry the load if need be. It's still Peterson's job, however.
2015 Week 8 vs CHI (2 / 18 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
As usual, McKinnon didn't get much work against the Bears. He did have a very nice carry in the second quarter which he took for 16 yards. On the play we saw a lot of what we liked last season, as the offensive line did a nice job holding the edge for him and McKinnon flashed his speed getting there and then turning upfield. McKinnon then slipped a tackle, bowled over another defender and nearly broke the run all the way before being brought down at about the 33 yard line.
2015 Week 9 vs LA (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
McKinnon had two plays wiped out by defensive penalties, one of which was a run, the other a reception. McKinnon had two other receptions for minimal yards.
2015 Week 10 vs OAK (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
McKinnon was on the field for four snaps on offense and has been relegated to special teams for now.
2015 Week 11 vs GB (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
McKinnon found himself in on a few third downs where Teddy Bridgewater tried to use him on short passes to slip in for a first down. He remains buried on the depth chart behind Adrian Peterson.
2015 Week 12 vs ATL (5 / 33 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McKinnon came in to relieve Adrian Peterson multiple times and did a great job gaining positive yards on all five of his carries. He showed good burst to the hole, determination to keep his legs driving after contact and a lot of speed. It's all the same things we saw last season and a good sign that if he gets a shot or ends up elsewhere down the line, McKinnon could be a force.
2015 Week 13 vs SEA (4 / 18 / 0 rush, 6 / 3 / 6 / 0 rec)
McKinnon saw a few more snaps on Sunday as the Vikings fell behind and needed some pass-blocking help and a hand in disguising formations. Adrian Peterson struggles out of the pistol or shotgun, so McKinnon was in so that Bridgewater could be handing off. However many of those plays still resulted in passes, which tipped off the Seahawks. McKinnon looked fine in a few carries and on his receptions but like most of the Vikings, he made no headway against a tough Seattle defense.
2015 Week 14 vs ARI (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
McKinnon was in just a few times in relief of Adrian Peterson and caught one shovel pass in that time.
2015 Week 15 vs CHI (7 / 10 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 76 / 1 rec)
McKinnon's first touch was a reception on a shallow crossing route. He snagged the ball, turned upfield and slipped a tackle heading into open space, finally getting shoved out of bounds after a 25 yard gain. That kind of speed and ability in the pass game is the one thing McKinnon has over Adrian Peterson (and it includes blocking). His next catch was on a short outlet pass where he again slipped a defender then scampered upfield for 30 yards making some nice moves to evade defenders as he did so. McKinnon showed the same elusiveness and ability to create extra yards on his touchdown reception. Up by just three points in the late second quarter, McKinnon took another short pass, turned upfield, slipped a pair of tacklers and carried the last defender into the end zone. Overall, McKinnon flashed the versatility and ability he showed all last season and if he struggled to run between the tackles on Sunday, it's the exact same problem Adrian Peterson had. He's nowhere in Peterson's class but he has proven himself to be a talent over and over again.
2015 Week 16 vs NYG (7 / 89 / 2 rush, 3 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
While it's clear that McKinnon isn't in possession of the same ability Adrian Peterson has, it's also clear that he can more than hold his own anyway. McKinnon had a huge day on a few carries, including two touchdowns one of which was on a 68-yard run. On his first touchdown, off a pitch and running to the right, McKinnon showed great vision in picking his lane and then getting skinny to slip tacklers for the touchdown. On the 68-yard run, McKinnon hesitated at the line because the hole had closed up, but saw a new lane open to his left and quickly shifted that direction. He then accelerated immediately and got to the second level, running past a Giants defender on a bad angle and taking the ball to the house. McKinnon also sees most of the work on third downs as he can pass block and catch the ball better than Peterson can.
2015 Week 17 vs GB (4 / 15 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 33 / 0 rec)
We've talked about the flexibility McKinnon brings more than once this season and this game seemed to be when the team finally realized it as well. He lined up in the backfield on third downs and when Adrian Peterson was hurt in the fourth quarter. He lined up in the slot. He was out wide as the "z" receiver. He ran crossing routes, carried the ball and took on seam routes. McKinnon also made very good catches, often getting an extra few yards after the catch. McKinnon got some separation too, especially on Teddy Bridgewater's first pass of the game. On the play, McKinnon blew past rookie linebacker Jake Ryan and was wide open down the sideline. Unfortunately Bridgewater missed him by about five yards and cost the team what would have been a sure six points. McKinnon made a few nice catches and ran the ball hard on a pair of occasions. While he continues to remain behind Peterson running the ball, he is showing his ability to do a ton of things and the team should find ways to get him the ball against Seattle.
2014 Week 1 vs STL (1 / 1 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
McKinnon was on the field for just three snaps and got one carry on what amounted to a wedge play right up the middle on a 1st and 20. He ran hard but was buried immediately at the line.
2014 Week 2 vs NE (2 / 7 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 5 / 0 rec)
Despite only carrying the ball twice and being targeted just three times on pass plays, McKinnon was on the field for 32 percent of the offensive snaps--so he could see more work later if Matt Asiata continues to look mediocre behind Adrian Peterson (who has now been activated by the Vikings). Like Asiata, McKinnon had to deal with an offensive line that wasn't playing well, but McKinnon looked a little sharper and quicker to the hole. He also did well catching the ball, missing only on a ball which was deflected.
2014 Week 3 vs NO (2 / -1 / 0 rush, 5 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)
McKinnon didn't get many carries and what he did get were D.O.A. because the offensive line didn't block on either one. He was also the target on several outlet passes to mixed results. Some were a little off target while others he just couldn't haul in. He is definitely second fiddle to Asiata, who was on the field more frequently and seemed more integral.
2014 Week 4 vs ATL (18 / 135 / 0 rush, 3 / 1 / 17 / 0 rec)
The rookie out of Georgia Southern started things off with a fantastic 55-yard run in the second quarter. On the play, the offensive line destroyed the Atlanta Falcons defensive front, and Matt Asiata (out of the fullback spot) obliterated a linebacker opening a huge hole for McKinnon. The rookie showed great burst as he hit the second level, then some nice moves as he made several tacklers miss, then cut back across the middle of the field. He showed some patience as well, slowing down and letting his blockers do their job before bailing back inside. McKinnon also showed some strength and determination on shorter runs where the space to run wasn't there and he gained positive yards anyway. If there is one thing McKinnon seems to still be working on, it's catching the ball as he had a pair of drops to go with his one 17-yard reception. McKinnon almost had a touchdown at the end of the second quarter, as he ran up the gut but fell just short of the goal line. Overall he looked very good against a defense which seemed to have no answers for the Vikings ground game.
2014 Week 5 vs GB (7 / 24 / 0 rush, 5 / 3 / 22 / 0 rec)
While McKinnon appeared to be on the field for about the same amount of plays as he was last week (30 snaps), he only got half as many carries and wasn't nearly as effective. Whereas Matt Asiata was able to bull his way through the offensive line issues, McKinnon doesn't have the frame or strength to do that. Also, while McKinnon was targeted two more times this week than previously, the quality of the passes was much worse and the first pass sailed way over his head. One of the other passes was throw so far behind him that it looked like it was thrown to linebacker Jamari Lattimore rather than McKinnon. The passes McKinnon did catch were still of low quality and he was forced to adjust to them, slowing him down. On one, a pass early in the fourth quarter, McKinnon was wide open in the middle of the field but had to reach up and catch the ball Ponder threw. He bobbled it as well, all of which gave the Packers defense time to swarm him. McKinnon was more effective in space last week, but Ponder and OC Norv Turner couldn't make that happen. It wasn't one of McKinnon's better days and the change at quarterback and problematic offensive line blocking were two reasons for that.
2014 Week 6 vs DET (11 / 40 / 0 rush, 6 / 6 / 42 / 0 rec)
In a game that was competitive into the fourth quarter, McKinnon saw a significant edge in touches over veteran Matt Asiata in the Minnesota backfield. McKinnon's burst was evident in his initial steps throughout the game as he took dump-off passes past the first down marker or gained the corner on rushing attempts. On one occasion, McKinnon lined up as a wide receiver and eludes the first two defenders on his way to an 11-yard gain on a smoke screen. Few things went well for the Vikings offense against the Lions stingy defense this week, but McKinnon's athleticism and ability to create yards on his own was a lone bright spot.
2014 Week 7 vs BUF (19 / 103 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / -2 / 0 rec)
Jerick McKinnon got the start over Matt Asiata but more importantly, he got the bulk of the carries. McKinnon ran the ball 19 times to Asiata's six, and was also targeted in the pass game--though one of his targets was behind the line of scrimmage and resulted in a big loss, which wiped out a 4-yard reception he also had. McKinnon showed tenacity and drive in overcoming an offensive line which continues to struggle opening lanes for the backfield. On one of the plays where the blocking did go well, McKinnon saw that his primary lane was blocked and cut back to a secondary. He ran through a wide open hole and was at the first down marker before a defender even was near him. Another time was on a 29-yard run in the third quarter. On the play, with the Vikings on their own 5-yard line, McKinnon took the ball and cut right towards a huge hole the line had created for him. He then slipped an arm tackle, manhandled another would-be tackler and then showed some great burst to add onto the run before being taken down. While the Vikings certainly miss Adrian Peterson, McKinnon has proven to be very effective and a skilled runner who can help move the chains as well as pop off with a big play on occasion.
2014 Week 8 vs TB (16 / 83 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / -1 / 0 rec)
Rookie Jerick McKinnon has been pretty reliable for the Minnesota Vikings since the suspension--sorry, permanent inactivation--of Adrian Peterson and has done everything he could to keep the ground game alive. The overall offense was stalled, but McKinnon got them going with a great 28-yard run. On the play, which came early in the third quarter on a 1st and 10, McKinnon took the handoff deep in the backfield. Despite some marginal blocking and not much space up front, McKinnon ran for his hole, got skinny and slipped through the trash at the line of scrimmage. He then hit the second level and showed some great acceleration and maneuverability as he got outside and away from some defenders. He started to cut towards the sideline, but ran into Greg Jennings and nearly stumbled. A Buccaneer defender then wrapped him up and it looked like the play was over, but McKinnon knocked the defender's hands awayand got to the sideline, gaining a few more yards before being brought down. Overall, that was how McKinnon ran--hard and relentlessly--and while he doesn't appear to be a top-shelf or "elite" running back, he has plenty of the tools you need to be effective.
2014 Week 9 vs WAS (14 / 54 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 14 / 0 rec)
It was a "down" day for Jerrick McKinnon, who only totaled 68 total yards and saw his touchdowns vulture by Matt Asiata, the short yardage back. McKinnon looked off all day, hesitating behind the line, not hitting the holes quickly, and generally looking much more like a rookie than he has the past two weeks. The one time he didn't hesitate--when he just planted his foot and went, he had a big gain. Granted, the hole was huge but he had some decent holes before and couldn't make it through. Washington has a decent defensive front, so it's not a total surprise he had issues with it, but the hesitation was unusual for a guy who had seemed more confident and decisive before.
2014 Week 11 vs CHI (8 / 38 / 0 rush, 7 / 4 / 20 / 0 rec)
The Chicago Bears worked hard to take away the Vikings' ability to move the ball on the ground and make the Vikings a one-dimensional team. While the Vikings passed a lot more than they ran, it doesn't seem (as far as McKinnon is concerned) that the Bears were really all that effective in shutting McKinnon down. It more seemed as though the Vikings just decided to move away from running the ball. After running the ball seven times for 35 yards in the first half, McKinnon carried the ball just once more. He did struggle a little gaining ground towards the end of the second quarter, but the Bears didn't appear to be so effective that the Vikings needed to abandon the run, only running it four times in the second half after running it 12 the first half. All this is to say that while McKinnon ran the ball hard and fairly well, it was hard to get a read as to the sort of day he could have had because the Vikings gave up on the run so early. In terms of good news, McKinnon continued to be a big part of the passing game and was the second most targeted player on the field. While he did drop one pass, overall he continues to show good hands and an ability to gain yards after the catch.
2014 Week 12 vs GB (15 / 54 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 9 / 0 rec)
McKinnon for the lion's share of the carries for the Vikings, but struggled behind a poor offensive line. Whether he ran left or right, nine times out of ten he met resistance at or behind the line of scrimmage. McKinnon seemed to have more success running inside, in part because the play seemed to get off quicker, and often they came on passing downs, and linebackers were backing off into coverage. When he had a little space, McKinnon did a good job making the first defender miss and gaining extra yards, but he very rarely had the time and space to do anything but try and break a tackle. McKinnon did do a really nice job of gaining first downs in short yardage situations and made a few nice catches as well. While it seems as though McKinnon will continue to get the bulk of the carries, Joe Banyard played well enough to make you wonder if he might get more carries at McKinnon's expense.