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Minnesota Vikings draft analysis: Jerick McKinnon

The Minnesota Vikings selected Jerick McKinnon with the 96th pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Jerick McKinnon with the 96th pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Position: Running back

Number: 31

College: Georgia Southern

Height: 5-9

Weight: 208

2014 Statistics: 1,050 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 6.5 rushing yards per carry, 171 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 47.06 passing percentage, 3 catches, 23 receiving yards, 7.67 yards per catch, 11 yards per kick return

My analysis: McKinnon is dynamic in space. He runs with good balance, which allows him to easily break arm tackles. He can run between the tackles on occasion, but will not be able to do it consistently in the NFL. He showed at the combine that he can catch the ball out of the backfield, but needs to prove he can do it against coverage.

NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki’s analysis: Adjusted from a triple-option quarterbacking role as a junior to a tailback role as a senior and possesses the athletic ability to warrant a chance as a change-of-pace back in the pros. Could even be tried as a return man and cornerback, where he began his college career. Would benefit from focusing on one position and will require some time to develop. Displays some similarities to Chicago Bears 1999 fifth-round draft pick Jerry Azumah.

The skinny: The Vikings took a chance on McKinnon in the third round. He could be a boom or bust prospect. He was a top performer in the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle among running backs at the NFL Combine. Mike Mayock of NFL.com called him “a good upside football player” in his draft analysis. Some declare him to be Adrian Peterson’s heir apparent, but McKinnon probably needs to add strength to be an every down back. McKinnon is expected to be a change-of-pace and third down back for the Vikings as a rookie.