Latavius Murray is the Vikings lead running back in terms of income, but the veteran took the back seat in the season-opening win against the Saints.
Murray kept his head held high Wednesday, saying “it’s still very early” in the season to be worried two days after he saw a backfield-low three snaps and two carries in his Vikings debut. Rookie Dalvin Cook dominated the workload with 22 carries and Jerick McKinnon played a slim complementary role with three carries on 11 snaps.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has said he wants multiple Vikings backs to contribute weekly. Head coach Mike Zimmer noted Tuesday that Cook had the “hot hand.”
“When you look at the grand scheme of things,” Murray said, “regardless of the production I had, the fumble or how well we did as a team and as an offense, it’s still just one game. It doesn’t determine anything at this point. It’s still very early. I got a lot of work to do and as a team we have a lot of work to do still.”
Murray waited until the third quarter to get into the game, and he didn’t help his case with a fumble on the first carry. The 27-year-old veteran, who ran for 12 touchdowns in Oakland last year, said he liked what he saw from Cook and the offensive line.
And after signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Vikings this spring, Murray said his expectations for a role with the Vikings “stay the same” despite his slow start.
Murray said his surgically-repaired ankle, which kept him out of most camp practices and preseason games, is “good.”
“With the exception of the fumble I had on the first carry,” Murray said, “I think it’s a good start.”
A Miami connection
The two men most responsible for the Vikings’ defense Sunday on Antonio Brown know the Steelers star receiver well. Aside from Zimmer, who coached against Brown in the AFC North for four seasons, top cornerback Xavier Rhodes works out with Brown in the offseasons as the two Miami-born stars attended the same area high school a few years apart.
“Every offseason we tend to find time to work out, hang out,” Rhodes said. “We try to find a field and work out together, but we have our own things we need to do. He’s a busy man. I’m a busy man.”
Don’t be surprised to see Rhodes shadow Brown on both sides of the field Sunday.
Quarterback Sam Bradford was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after he completed nearly 85 percent of his passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ win over the Saints.
That’s one way to start a contract season. Bradford, 29, is playing for a new deal next offseason and got off on the right foot by becoming the first Vikings quarterback to earn Player of the Week honors since Brett Favre in 2009.
“Obviously it’s cool,” Bradford said. “If we find ways to win, then hopefully everything else takes care of itself.”
Barr held out
Linebacker Anthony Barr is dealing with a knee injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice, the first since Monday night’s game against the Saints. He was the only Vikings player held out.
Limited at practice were Bradford (knee) and linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (hamstring). Guard Danny Isidora (knee) and cornerback Tramaine Brock (groin) were full participants.
The 49ers plucked Vikings rookie linebacker Elijah Lee off the practice squad, signing the seventh-round pick to their active roster. Earlier this month, the Vikings chose undrafted linebacker Eric Wilson over Lee for the 53-man roster.
The Vikings signed linebacker Antwione Williams to the practice squad to replace Lee. Williams (6-3, 240) was a 2016 fifth-round pick by the Lions out of Georgia Southern.