The free-agency period has been good one way or another for every NFL team. Hence, it’s time to take a look at the positives in our newest series for End Zone Score. Which newcomer to the club was the franchise’s best offseason move and why? We got things started with the 2016 last-place teams in the eight divisions. You can get caught up on the entire series by clicking right here. We are currently looking at the clubs that finished third. And that means the Minnesota Vikings are in the spotlight.
It’s literally been a great run in the Twin Cities by the 16th-leading rusher in NFL history. Running back Adrian Peterson amassed 11,747 and 97 touchdowns on the ground. He’s led the league in rushing three times, was NFL MVP in 2012 and been named to seven Pro Bowls in 10 years. But his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings has come to an end. The unrestricted free agent won’t be re-signed by the franchise.
Enter young running back Latavius Murray, who ran for 788 yards and 12 scores in 14 contests with the Silver and Black this past season. One year earlier, Murray led the Oakland Raiders with 1,066 yards on the ground (6 touchdowns) and earned a Pro Bowl invitation. Now he joins a team that in 2016 averaged an NFL-worst 75.3 yards per game rushing. In fact, Mike Zimmer’s squad ran for a total of 1,205 yards in 16 games this past season – nearly half of that total (539) by Jerick McKinnon. All told, the Vikings’ team total was surpassed by seven players in ’16.
There will be some new faces at the tackle spots in Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff. In fact, there’s been some tweaking along the offensive line in general. But now the Minnesota Vikings once again have a workhorse-type running back who should make life a lot easier for quarterback Sam Bradford.