It did not take long for the Minnesota Vikings to officially replace future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson once general manager Rick Spielman made it clear AD would not return to the franchise. Former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray landed a three-year, $15 million deal in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota will rely on a group of young, promising receivers to ascend to the next level to open up the offense. Quarterback Sam Bradford returns and is expected to retain the starting duties. The offensive line in Minnesota was a liability in 2016, so Spielman landed two new offensive tackles in Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.
Murray is coming off a 12-touchdown season in 14 games with the Raiders last year. He rushed only 195 times for 788 yards (4.0 per carry), catching 33 balls.
At 27 years old, without a beefy volume of NFL touches, he should be fresh. With 266 totes as a career high, Murray hasn’t proven he can hold up to a pounding — fortunately, the Vikes are unlikely to ask that of him.
The Central Florida product has 74 receptions in his last two seasons, showing he is capable out of the backfield. However, those chores likely will go to Jerick McKinnon in Minnesota.
Fantasy football outlook
Assuming the offensive line changes result in on-field upgrades, which really isn’t asking a lot, the fourth-year back will have a sound shot at another 1,000-yard season. His real value comes from touchdowns, a category all too difficult to predict because of so many variables.
Safely, Murray is a fringe RB2 or a strong third fantasy back who offers lineup consideration each week. His upside hovers around the top 15 of fantasy rushers in standard scoring and and just inside the top 20 for PPR types. Murray finished 13th in non-PPR and 12th in reception-rewarding formats, per game, in ’16, fueled by touchdowns.