The Minnesota Vikings' head coach has gone on record to say the team will be getting a huge asset in the form of Jerick McKinnon, especially with his playing ability and general attitude towards the game.
After the Vikings' loss at the hands of the Eagles last season in their NFL Championship Game, McKinnon, who was coming into free-agent status made the stateement to reporters that he believed he had proven his value as one of the NFL's top running backs.
McKinnon, who ran a total of 991 yards from the scrimmage line in his fourth season was looking to realize his value at the team. 49ers players for next season are a prime bunch, and it only made sense for the team to retain McKinnon's services. They offered the 25-year-old running back, a former Georgia South star, a four-year extension on his contract worth a hefty $30 million, which he gladly took.
The 49ers management believes that the 5-foot-nine star, who weighs in at 205-pounds and managed 94 catches from the backfield over the 2016-201 season, would fit in perfectly with Kyle Shanahan's offensive line.The decision to offer McKinnon such a hefty contrac traised quite a few eyebrows in the NFL, but it didn't surprise his former head coach, Mike Zimmer of the Vikings.
The Vikings head coach believes McKinnon is something special, and that he was bound to get his payday eventually. He thinks the payday, though bigger than he would have expected, is entirely justified.
McKinnon's stats tell the story for him. He has a rare combination of strength and speed for a running back, having set a 40-yard dash time of 4.41 at the NFL combine. He also went ahead and set a record of 32 lifts at the combine's bench press, which wasn't topped by any other running backs at the combine.
As Zimmer went on to say, McKinnon catches the ball superlatively well from out of the backfield, and one could tell he had improved dramatically as a runner this past year. He was hitting the hole far better last year and his acceleration was off the charts. His pass protection capacity is admirable for a relatively small player such as he is. To top everything off, Zimmer makes special note of McKinnon's exceptional work ethic and attitude, attributes that were a boon for the Vikings squad while he was a part of it.
Zimmer finished off his sentiments regarding McKinnon by saying he was a great kid, a hard worker, and could always be counted on to have a smile on his face while he was with his team. The Vikings would miss him in his absence.