The Vikings announced Wednesday evening that new running back Latavius Murray, who signed a three-year contract with the team last week, underwent “successful” ankle surgery earlier in the day Wednesday.
In a statement, the Vikings said they “were aware of the required surgery prior to signing” Murray on March 16. His surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson, the renowned foot and ankle surgeon based in Charlotte, N.C.
The Vikings expect the 27-year-old to be ready for the start of training camp.
Murray, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders, injured the ankle last November. On three occasions he was listed as questionable to play on the week’s final injury report because of the injury but still suited up.
He missed two games earlier in the 2016 season because of a toe injury.
In 14 regular-season games with the Raiders last season, Murray rushed for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. He added 33 receptions for 264 yards. In the previous season, when he was selected to the Pro Bowl, Murray started all 16 games and rushed for 1,066 yards and six TDs.
Murray did not play as a rookie because the Raiders placed him on injured reserve during the preseason because of an ankle injury. It is unknown if the ankle on which he had surgery Wednesday is the same one he injured in 2013.
When Murray gets healthy, the Vikings are excited about his potential to be an every-down back, something his Pro Bowl predecessor, Adrian Peterson, was not trusted to do because of his limitations as a receiver and his struggles in pass protection.
“Obviously, he’s a big back [at] almost 6-3, 225 [pounds],” coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday morning during a radio appearance on KFAN. “He’s got strength in his running game, power in his running game. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and he’s a good pass protector and a receiver.”
Zimmer added that “not having to substitute him on third downs” will be “big.”
The Vikings have three healthy running backs on their 90-man roster in Jerick McKinnon, Bishop Sankey and C.J. Ham, the Duluth native. Peterson and Matt Asiata are free agents, still unsigned and not expected to be brought back with Murray in the fold after signing his three-year, $15 million deal.
Zimmer also said that Tuesday he still thinks there is a “good chance” the Vikings will grab another running back at some point during the NFL draft in April.
“I think there’s a lot of different kinds of [skill sets],” the coach told KFAN. “Off the top of my head, I’m thinking about five or six of them that have a lot of big-play ability, and I’m hoping that there’s a chance that we can get one.”