Most NFL and Fantasy Football fans recognize Jerick McKinnon as a young back for the Minnesota Vikings who has spent most of his career as a backup to Adrian Peterson and, before his injury, Dalvin Cook. But the 25-year-old's journey to the NFL was much more interesting than your typical running back.
At Georgia Southern he was a jack-of-all-trades.
In the Eagles' triple-option attack he was recruited to played quarterback to start his career, playing special teams as well as a freshman. He played in 10 games as a freshman, playing both quarterback and tailback in addition to special teams. As a sophomore he completed the feat of throwing for, catching, and rushing for at least one touchdown each as he played multiple positions in the option attack.
His junior season was his best statistically as he rushed for 1,817 yards from his quarterback spot, the third-highest single-season total in school history. He finished his career with another 1,000-yard season as a senior.
McKinnon left Georgia Southern as the Eagles' third all-time rusher, behind only (the other) Adrian Peterson and Jermaine Austin. He had 4,138 all-purpose yards and finished his career with 42 rushing touchdowns, 12 passing TDs and a receiving touchdown.
A 4.35 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine helped boost his draft stock, and McKinnon was drafted 96th overall in the third round by Minnesota.
After Dalvin Cook's ACL injury, most assumed Latavius Murray would get the nod at starter, but McKinnon exploded for 95 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries against Minnesota, adding 6 catches for 51 yards. Murray took 12 carries for 31 yards and caught 2 passes for 12 yards.
One game won't decide the future for the backfield rotation, but the former option quarterback from Georgia Southern has the upper hand.