Latavius Murray expecting to be ‘the guy’ in Minnesota Vikings backfield

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    June 27 (UPI) — Despite missing the Minnesota Vikings‘ offseason program, Latavius Murray believes he’ll beat out rookie Dalvin Cook for the running back job.

    Murray appeared on Tuesday’s Good Morning Football, where he said he would be the Vikings’ starting running back in the team’s season opener on Sept. 11 against the New Orleans Saints.

    “Settle this once and for all…I know where your mind set is. First and ten from the 25, first snap of the year for the Minnesota Vikings, are you on the field?” a Good Morning Football host asked Murray.

    “I’m on the field,” Murray responded. “I’m getting the ball.”

    The Vikings dedicated resources to replacing franchise leader Adrian Peterson this offseason, signing Murray as a free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March to a three-year, $15 million contract. A few months later, the franchise traded up in the 2017 NFL Draft to snag Cook in the second round.

    Florida State’s all-time leading rusher has first round talent. He impressed coaches with his versatility during rookie minicamp and OTAs, when Murray was sidelined while recovering from ankle surgery.

    “If I’m looking at it from my perspective, here I am, already behind in a sense, going into a new offense, new situation, but I’m injured, coming off an injury,” Murray said of undergoing ankle surgery this offseason. “Dalvin’s already been through the [organized team activities], he’s already been through the offseason,” Murray said on NFL Network. “So, he has that up on me. But also, looking at it as, hey, I’m the vet, I have time in this league, I’ve done some good things in this league. So I have a lot to bring to the table.”

    Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week that he expects Murray to be ready when training camp begins on July 24 in Mankato, Minn.

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    From a fantasy football outlook, Cook remains the favorite to lead this backfield in touches. Jerick McKinnon is entering his fourth season with the franchise, but will likely enter the season as the No. 3 back. Although Cook has very promising upside, don’t reach for him in your draft. This backfield has the makings of a committee from the start, with Murray being a thorn in Cook’s value for the entire season, unless and injury sets in. Cook is an RB4/5, while Murray is nothing more than a handcuff.

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