Late Wednesday night, the Minnesota Vikings concluded their meeting with Oakland Raiders’ free agent RB Latavius Murray, signing him to a 3 year deal with the option to be voided down to a 1 year deal. The Vikings were known to be looking for a new RB, but also were linked loosely to Adrian Peterson in case he ended up staying in Minnesota, but that clearly is no longer the case.
Latavius Murray is a big back, at 6’3″, who takes a lot of hits and doesn’t gain much after contact. Although he did score a career high 12 rushing TD’s last season (5th best in the league), he did so behind the league’s second best offensive line, gaining less than 800 yards on the ground at only 4 ypc in 14 games. The yardage numbers are unacceptable for a starting RB behind a top 2 offensive line, especially when you take into account the rookies behind him (Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington) put up 5.4 and 5.6 ypc. He can take the lanes that are given to him, but he is just not great at creating space for himself. So the Raiders felt it best to move on and search for a new back via free agency or the draft.
The Vikings, however, don’t have the offensive line the Raiders do, so this is an interesting move for them. It’s tough to say what’s expected of Murray, because after 4 seasons in the league, he is who he is for the most part. But the Vikings’ running woes need help, considering they have let aging Adrian Peterson walk, Jerrick McKinnon is no better than a backup and Matt Asiata is a goal line plodder. On paper, this looks like a great move, bringing in a running back who scored 12 td’s a season ago. But if the Vikings offensive line doesn’t improve by the time the season starts, Murray’s flaws could be exposed quickly, and this signing will not look so great for the Vikings.