Vikings’ top position battles heading into training camp

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Jerick McKinnon (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Jerick McKinnon (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Running Back:

As already mentioned, Adrian Peterson is gone and the Vikings will have a new running back leading the way in 2017. Luckily, the team has great options to take over the backfield. By signing Murray in free agency and drafting Cook in the second round, they have solid starting options to go along with Jerick McKinnon at the positon.

Undoubtedly, all three should see playing time in 2017 as they all bring something unique to the table.

Murray is a hard-nosed runner who scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns last season from inside the 10-yard line. He was also ranked as the fourth best pass protector from the running back position, according to Pro Football Focus. Cook is a dynamic runner that has the ability to make defenders miss and make a big play at any moment, while McKinnon is a quick, shifty back that is a great pass catcher out of the backfield.

Given the rave reviews that Cook has received thus far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the rookie win the starting spot. If Cook shows the ability to be a star in camp and the preseason, look for him to lead the way in the backfield with Murray and McKinnon seeing plenty of work behind him.

Third Receiver:

Last year’s first round pick Laquon Treadwell is heading into an important camp and preseason to prove he belongs in the starting lineup. With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen on top of the depth chart, Treadwell is going to have to aim for the third receiver spot. Even so, there’s a large opportunity for playing time.

Yet, the Vikings signed Michael Floyd as a free agent in May to compete with Treadwell for the spot. Undoubtedly, this battle is worth monitoring over camp and into the preseason, but Treadwell has been given a huge opportunity to claim the spot given Floyd’s four-game suspension to start the regular season. He was also given a majority of the reps in three-receiver sets in OTAs and minicamp, showing the Vikings are giving the young receiver every opportunity to win the battle.


The Vikings took Pat Elflein in the third round of the NFL Draft with the mindset that he’d become a stalwart on the line for years to come. He will look to out-duel Nick Easton for the starting spot in his rookie season.

Easton looks to have the advantage heading into camp, but if Elflein proves he’s ready to make an impact right away, that could change awfully quick. The other option at center is for consistent veteran Joe Berger to reclaim the spot, forcing a competition at right guard.