March 21, 2018

Vikings lose RB McKinnon to 49ers

15 March 2018, 12:22 | Sandy Nunez

NFL free agents: Pat Shurmur product Jerick McKinnon gets big contract from 49ers, not Giants

Jan 21 2018 Philadelphia PA USA Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick Mc Kinnon runs the ball against Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Corey Graham during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandator

Free agency opened Wednesday with 49ers general manager John Lynch extolling the virtues of their newest offensive players, running back Jerick McKinnon and offensive lineman Weston Richburg.

Looking at PFF rankings for running backs last season, McKinnon actually ranks as the eighth-highest graded back overall with a grade of 84.6.

McKinnon is a solid receiver out of the backfield and a adequate pass blocker as well, but he has never surpassed 160 carriers in a season, so the Niners are taking a gamble that he can handle the workload.

After four years in a part-time, fill-in role for Minnesota, McKinnon has parlayed his explosiveness into a very nice $30 million deal.

McKinnon thanked the Vikings' organization and his former teammates in a series of tweets Wednesday.

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McKinnon (25 years old, 5-9, 205), who played college football at Georgia Southern, was a third-round draft pick by the Vikings in 2014.

The Vikings' starter at running back in 2018 is expected to be Dalvin Cook, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the fourth game last season. Still, he averaged 3.4 yards per carry. He has rushed for 1,918 yards with an average of 4.0 yards per carry, has 142 catches for 984 yards, and has scored 12 touchdowns.

Jerick McKinnon of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball during the NFL International Series match between Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium on October 29, 2017 in London, England. Schrager was the first person to report on Wednesday morning that McKinnon meant to sign with the 49ers.

After missing out on the top dual-threat running back free agency had to offer, the San Francisco 49ers were successful in signing the next-best free agent on the market.

It appears as though McKinnon may have found that bigger role he was talking about a couple of months back.

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