Latavius Murray unlikely to offer as much scoring in Minnesota
Minnesota took a step toward replacing future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson Thursday, signing Latavius Murray. The former Oakland back is coming off a 12-touchdown campaign.
Let’s be clear that this isn’t a Farve-to-Rodgers situation in Minnesota. Sure, Murray was one of just seven running backs to top double-digit scores last season, but he did so with by far the fewest yards. His 788 rushing yards ranked just 21st at the position last year. That level of touchdown efficiency is all but guaranteed to regress going forward.
Murray also gets a significant downgrade at offensive line. Last year, the Vikings generated just 0.98 yards before contact per attempt. That’s over half a yard less than the Raiders’ number of 1.56. Minnesota did add Mike Remmers at right tackle, which will help, but the addition of Riley Reiff at left tackle isn’t an upgrade. Reiff managed just 0.83 yards before contact in 2016. With this offensive line, it’s tough to envision a scenario where Murray produces better than RB2 numbers.
The Jerick McKinnon hopefuls won’t want to hold their breath on a three-down role this season. Murray will slot in as the early-down back, which again relegates McKinnon to passing-down duties. That doesn’t entirely close the door on a McKinnon, but he’ll have to beat out Murray in order to be a viable fantasy option outside of deep PPR leagues.
In Oakland, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard now sit atop the depth chart. Washington was quiet for much of 2016, but flashed upside with a two-score outburst in Week 16 where he carried the ball 12 times for 99 yards. Richard was a more consistent part of the offense throughout the year, and actually saw one more target (39) than Murray. On paper, Washington projects to see more of the early-down work with Richard getting the passing-down duties. However, this is still a fluid situation. The Raiders have needs on the defensive side of the ball, but it isn’t out of the question for them to add a running back in the draft as well.