As Vikings legend Adrian Peterson’s ship has sailed from Minneapolis, one question lingered throughout the state of Minnesota: Who will replace the perennial Pro Bowler? The answer for the 2017 season appears to be Latavius Murray.
With only Jerrick McKinnon left in the harbor, the Minnesota Vikings needed to add another back to complement the former college quarterback.
Murray represents a changing of the guard. Going from a running back in Peterson that struggled in the passing game, to one that excels in blocking and is a solid receiver will be an interesting change for the purple and gold.
Murray is a fast runner who learned how to lower his shoulder and plow his way through defenders last season. He was a reliable, steady performer for the Oakland Raiders.
Will Murray provide riches for your Fantasy team, or will he pillage a unwarranted spot from a more deserving player?
Vikings Plunder Latavius Murray
Is Latavius Murray a worthwhile addition to your Fantasy team?
Since his first day on the job, Mike Zimmer has wanted to create a hard-nosed identity. Murray will help establish the run and protect whoever is under center. He may never be as nimble as Peterson, but Murray is a balanced approach to the position.
Murray learned to lower his pad level last season, giving him some extra leverage in short yardage situations. He is a good enough receiver, catching over 70 percent of his targets in each of his three seasons according to Pro Football Reference. With checkdown champion Sam Bradford at the helm, Murray will get a bit of a boost in PPR leagues. From watching some film on Murray, you’ll see a runner that doesn’t always hit the right hole. When Murray does, he can pose a physical threat to secondaries and outrun linebackers.
If you’ve watched any of the Vikings’ 2016 season, you’d know their offensive line play was downright awful. Granted, they did face a number of injuries. In addition to Murray, the Vikings have added a couple of linemen in Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. From the looks of things, Rick Spielman and Co. are taking a very similar approach to Seattle’s offseason. It remains to be seen if the additions are worth the cash when the team already spent the most money on offensive linemen in the NFL in 2016.
Latavius Murray likely also faces some stiff competition in the backfield. All-around physical freak Jerrick McKinnon is still in the fold. According to Pro Football Focus, McKinnon was acutally the better back in the last seven weeks in the season. The Vikings might be tempted to draft one of the many talented rookies in this year’s draft too.
When to Draft and What to Expect
Murray will struggle unless the Vikings’ offensive line woes are figured out. Latavius Murray’s ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator is currently at of the end of the third round. Even as a massive Vikings fan, I wouldn’t pick Murray at that spot. There are simply too many holes on the offensive line to overcome for Murray’s ADP to be justified.
I think somewhere in the fifth or sixth round sounds more reasonable at the moment, barring any major moves or developments in camp. Consider 1,100 total yards and 10 touchdowns to be optimistic, and any signs of improvement along the offensive line will lead to better numbers for Murray.
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