Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Rookie RB McKinnon impresses Adrian Peterson

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: July 2, 2014 - 10:01 AM

When asked who has been the most impressive player so far, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson first bunched in all the quarterbacks, then he singled out someone that really caught his eye – rookie running back Jerick McKinnon.

“He’s pretty impressive and there’s not too many guys who impress me like that, especially rookies coming in,” Peterson said. “He’s been able to do some real good things in the offense, picking it up well and just his running style.”

That shifty running style McKinnon credits to some of the college running backs he watched growing up, like Florida State’s Peter Warrick and Southern California’s Reggie Bush. 

“As a youngin’, you pick up on it and try to be like that and do some of their moves,” McKinnon said.

Like Bush during his NFL career, McKinnon will be asked to do a little of everything on offense and special teams. His versatility was one of the reason the Vikings selected him in the third round as someone to complement Peterson and Matt Asiata. McKinnon was a quarterback, running back and kick returner at Georgia Southern.

McKinnon recorded just 10 career receptions in college, however. That was hard to believe given how natural he looked over the last two months using his hands. While McKinnon was a quarterback at Sprayberry High in Marietta, Ga., he also played wide receiver. He was named wide receiver MVP of the National Underclassmen Ultimate 100 in high school, one of the many combine workouts for high school players to gain exposure.

“Being in the situation that I was in college, you really didn’t get to see a lot of it,” McKinnon said. “But I feel real comfortable with it. Coach [Norv] Turner is asking a lot from me to do different things. Whatever I can do to contribute to the team, I’m willing to do it.”

McKinnon has leaned on Turner and Peterson to help learn the offense and adapt to the NFL. McKinnon said he’s always observing Peterson and asking for advice during practice.

“When you’re learning from the best in the game, you really just got to take on everything and everything he says you got to listen to,” McKinnon said. “I just got to feed off him and all it to my game.”

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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